Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) says the continued deduction of stamp duty charges on bank customers’ transactions amounts to flagrant disregard to the law and also at variance with democratic ethos.
Against this background, the employers’ body has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to halt the deductions in line with an earlier judgment of a competent court of law.
Timothy Olawale, the Director General of NECA, spoke on the anomaly, Wednesday, saying there is an urgent need to respect valid judgment of the court on the issue.
The charges started when the CBN directed banks to deduct N50 from every transaction of a bank customer up to N1,000 and above in compliance with the Stamp Duties Act.
But Olawale argued that the issue of stamp duty was tested in courts and a ruling obtained in an appeal against the lower court’s judgment in the case of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd vs Kasmal International Services Ltd & 22 Ors in CA/L/437A/2014.
He said Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and four other Justices of the Court of Appeal held that the Stamp Duties Act did not impose a duty on all money deposits in banks.
Olawale said in line with the Appeal Court position, “electronic transactions” were not covered by the Stamp Duties Act and there has been no challenge of the ruling by any party at the Supreme Court.”
He explained that the refusal of the CBN and NIPOST to obey valid judgment of a competent court not only tantamount to contempt but ‘a sustained daylight robbery of millions of bank customers.’
“It is a mark of disrespect to the constitution of Nigeria, disrespect to the court, and disrespect to due process.
“NECA had written letters in 2015 and 2017 to the CBN governor, calling his attention to the anomaly and judgment of the court which he neither responded to nor did the needful by halting the fraud and rip off,” he said.
Olawale advised that NIPOST should stick to its roles and responsibilities of producing and selling postage stamps.
He called on the CBN to respect the law and judgment of the Court of Appeal and instruct commercial banks, through a circular, to stop the deduction of N50 stamp duty on customers’ accounts and return several billions of naira illegally deducted from them to date.