By Omodele Adigun
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has dismissed the rumours making the rounds that Stamp Duty has been suspended alongside the new charges on cashless policy.
According to its Director of Banking & Payments System Department, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, the suspension of the nationwide implementation of the excess withdrawal/deposit processing charges has nothing to do with the stamp duty, charged by banks for money received into the accounts of their customers’ via electronic transfer, cash and cheques.
An official of the bank had recently told Daily Sun that the stamp duty is charged on deposits only, whether it is above the threshold or not. He was reacting to enquiry on customers’ complaints of multiple months’ deductions of stamp duty from their accounts. This was misconstrued as the cashless policy charges. And since the nationwide implementation of the excess withdrawal/deposit charges was suspended, it was thought that the stamp duty too was affected.
But replying to Daily Sun enquiry at the weekend, Fatokun explained via an e-mail that both cashless policy and stamp duty are “two different policies and they have nothing to do with each other.”
Another school of thought had argued that the weekend suspension of the charges might not be unconnected with the Court of Appeal ruling on the stamp duty in a suit between Kasmal International Services Limited and Access Bank Plc.
It was reported recently by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that in the ruling on April 21, 2016, the Court of Appeal directed an end to the deductions, describing it as illegal. The Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Segun Osinowo, said CBN had failed to comply with the ruling.
According to Oshinowo, the deduction did not only affect corporate bodies but all Nigerians, including the vulnerable.
“NECA and organised businesses had opposed attempts by the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to compel companies to affix a N50 postal stamp on all receipts, invoices and documents evidencing transaction of N1,000 and above.
“NECA had also kicked against the CBN directive to banks based on its illegality and in the light of a pending litigation in the court on the matter,” he said.
The Director General said that it was worrisome that the apex bank had refused to comply with the ruling in the matter between Kasmal International Services Ltd. and Access Bank and 23 others.
“We (NECA) are concerned about the failure of CBN to reverse its directive to banks to halt charging N50 per transaction. We advise the apex body to direct banks to stop further deductions and refund all deductions in the past,” Osinowo said. He appealed to government agencies to shun policies that would increase burden on the citizens.