An Over View Of The Role Of A.G Federation And Minister Of Justice In The Audit And Recovery Of Back-Years Stamp Duties Under Stamp Duties Act.
An Over View Of The Role Of A.G Federation And Minister Of Justice In The Audit And Recovery Of Back-Years Stamp Duties Under Stamp Duties Act.
By Zhihwi Dauda Esq.
An Over View Of The Role Of A.G Federation And Minister Of Justice In The Audit And Recovery Of Back-Years Stamp Duties Under Stamp Duties Act.
1.1 ABSTRACT

Stamp Duties can be defined as a tax imposed on commercial and legal instruments i.e. dutiable instruments at the rate specified in the schedule to the Act either physical or electronic, which records and gives effect to certain transactions and makes such instruments admissible as evidence in any Court of Law in Nigeria.[i] Stamp duties Act is administered by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).[ii] Recently the Federal Government through the office of Attorney-General (A-G) of the Federation has moved to recover a backlog of unremitted revenues accruing to it through the Stamp Duties in the last five years  (between 1st January 2016 to 30th June 2020)  which has been neglected for more than 20 years.[iii] After the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Audit and back-year Stamp Duties recovery[iv] on 30th June 2020, many have asked questions as to the role and the jurisdiction of the A-G of the Federation to delve into the issue of Stamp duties generally and particularly in respect to back-years Stamp duties recovery in the light of the provisions of Section 2, 8(1)(b)&(c), 25 and 68 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment Act) and this has put a burden on the writer to come up with this  research article. It is the aim of this research to identify the statutory role of the office of A-G of the Federation particularly in the process of recovery of back-year Stamp Duties under the Stamp Duties Act (SDA)[v]. The research shows that the A-G of the Federation is statutorily empowered in his name to recover back-years of all stamp duties, penalties, interest, debt owed to the Federal Government in a summary manner under the SDA. However, there is the challenge of lack of expertise in the field of taxation by officers who administer the recovery and some judges of the Federal High Court (FHC) before whom the recovery process will be presented or adjudicated upon. There is also conflict of law in some provisions of SDA as it relates to the provisions of Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment Act 2007 (FIRSEA) etc. the work recommended therefore that SDA should further be amended by the next Proposed Finance Bill 2021 for effective administration, and also Judges of Federal High Court should be trained on the general principle of taxation in Nigeria for effective adjudication on tax matters. In conclusion; the administration of Stamp duties and particularly the recovery of back-year stamp duties if effectively harnessed will serve as a tool for an increase in tax revenue generated by the Federal Government.
 
2.1 INTRODUCTION

Stamp duties is an indirect tax imposed on all dutiable instruments (i.e. legal or commercial instruments listed under the schedule to the Stamp Duties Act as being subject to stamp duties charges) requiring such instruments to be stamped or denoted either physically or by electronic means by the relevant Stamp Duties Commissioner upon payment of the relevant fees prescribed under the stamp duties Act paid by a person who is liable to pay the duties (mostly the person who will naturally benefit under the instrument if stamped).

Historically, Stamp Duties was first introduced in Venice in the year 1604 and other European Countries welcomed the idea; Spain in 1610, Netherland in 1620, France in 1651, Denmark in 1657 and England in 1694. After 299 years of the introduction of Stamp Duties in the world (1604 to 1903), Sir Fredrick Lugard (the then High Commissioner of the Northern Protectorate) introduced the first Stamp Duties Ordinance of 1903 which was later amended by Ordinance of 1923, 1928 and 1931. It is however worthy of note,  the first holistic Stamp Duties law enacted in Nigeria was the Stamp Duties Ordinance of No.5 of 1935 (SDO). After independence; under the 1963 Constitution of FRN, the said SDO was deemed as an Act of the National assembly  which was further amended in 1964 where the following sections were  inserted S.100, 102, 111, 112 and 114 etc and under Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution of FRN  SDO was further deemed as the act of National Assembly  under the constitution, hence the Act is  regarded as the Stamp Duties Act Cap S8 LFN 2004 (SDA), recently the SDA  was amended by S. 52-56 of Finance Act 2019 which amended the following  Sections of SDA 2, 4,89, 90 and schedule of the Stamp Studies Act.

On 30th June, 2020, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, acting on the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari (GCON), inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties where he said thus: “Stamp duty would be second to oil in revenue generation.”[i] The Global effect of Covid-19 on the world economy and the fall in international price of crude oil which is the major source of revenue to the Nigerian government has compelled the government to look for an alternative source of funding to carry out its expenditure; a source that is found in Stamp Duty taxes.[ii] The Attorney General in the exercise of his power under Section 111 of Stamp duties Act is to supervise and control fully the recovery of the back-years stamp duties owed to the government and this is the first of its kind in about 94 years since the inception of Stamp duties Act in Nigeria. Similarly, the Federal Inland Revenue Service under the leadership of the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Muhammad Nami a seasoned tax consultant and administrator has revitalized and reinvigorated the machinery of effective administration of stamp duties in Nigeria which has already began to yield positive and encouraging result. As at April ending, 2020, the balance in the Stamp duties collection account with CBN had grown from =N=30 billion to =N=58 billion and =N=66 Billion by the end of May, 2020[iii]  this feat was achieved largely as a result of the deployment of a new Application Programming Interface (API) technology solution by the FIRS, which is an – online real-time technology that makes the collection of Stamp Duties much easier.

3.1 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATIONS OF TERMS
3.1.1 Stamp duties Audit: in the context of this research means; the process in which the Tax Authority (FIRS) officially examine, verify and analyze all dutiable instruments in the possession of any duty payer where the liability to pay or the obligation to ensure duty is paid; is on such duty payer in line with the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act

3.1.2 Back-year Stamp Duties: this refers to duties that ought to be paid under the Stamp Duties Act on instruments executed in the preceding years (up to five (5) years) for example in the year 2020, the back-years stamp duties will include duties not paid in any of these years between (2015 to 2019)

3.1.3 Recovery: Means the act or process of getting back or retrieval by the statutory office (either full or partial) of Stamp Duties liabilities from the duty payer which ought to have been paid on a dutiable instrument to the relevant Tax Authority (FIRS)

3.1.4 Duty: Means any Stamp Duty fee for the time being chargeable on any dutiable instrument before stamping same under SDA.

3.1.5 Fines: Means sanction imposed in monetary form for failure to pay duties on dutiable instruments or do an act as required under the SDA

3.1.6 Debt: Means any money owed to Government of the Federation under the SDA which may include but not limited to ( duties not paid, fines, penalty or interest imposed and judgment debt awarded in favor of Government etc)

3.1.7 Dutiable Instruments: Means all legal and commercial instrument or document classified under the Stamp Duties Act as subject to stamping upon payment of duty.

3.1.8 Compoundment of offense: Means the process by which the tax offender or defendant in tax criminal prosecution applies to the appropriate office for his/her tax offence to be settled upon payment by him/her of all the Stamp Duties liabilities, penalties, fines and interest that follows in order to withdraw the criminal charge against him.

4.1 LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE AUDIT AND RECOVERY OF BACK-YEAR STAMP DUTIES BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION.

The basis upon which the back-years Stamp Duties (debt, penalties and interest) can be recovered for the government in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation are as follows:

Section 111 SDA empowered the G of the Federation (in his name) to recover all duties, penalties, interest, debt owed to the government in a summary manner. Equally, Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN which empowered the A-G Federation to institute and undertake any criminal proceedings against any person before any Court of law in Nigeria in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of National Assembly (including offences as it relates to recovery of back years stamp duties under Stamp Duties Act). In the same line, Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 will be used by the office of the A-G of the Federation where his office decides to prosecute the tax offenders who failed to respond to his demand notice issued by the office of A-G Federation for the payment of back-years stamp duties after audit and duties liability have been established.
Section 114 SDA permits the A-G of the Federation to go as far back as 5years (preceding years) in recovery of duties, penalties, interest, debt owed to government under the Stamp Duties Act. While Section 110 SDA empowers the A-G of the Federation to include any current fine, penalties or duties liability in the process of back-years duties recovery under the SDA.
32 of the FIRSEA 2007 provides for interest of 10% of the amount of tax payable to be charged on any taxes not paid (including Stamp Duties) within one month after issuance of Demand notice.
Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule of 2019 provided for un-defended list procedure for summary recovery of debt owed to the Government, if the office of the A-G of the Federation decides to adopt this recovery by civil matter. And 83 Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act, Cap S6 LFN Revised Edition 2010) makes provision for how an order of Court to be obtained in cases of recovery of stamp duties debt owed to the Government under the un-defended list procedure of the FHC can be enforced.
5.1 THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL (AG) OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE UNDER THE 1999 CONSTITUTION.

5.1.1 HISTORIOCAL EVOLUTION OF THE OFFICE OF A-G FEDERATION:
Under the English Legal System, the concept of an Attorney General of a Country dates back to the Anglo-Norman system of government. During this time, French legal terms were introduced into the English system of government. The first mention of the term “Attornus Regis,” or “King’s Attorney,” was made in 1253. In the year 1472, the first formal appointment was made in England. The office of the Attorney-General has always been of great importance; the Attorney-General was both a Legal Representative of the king and Royal Government as well as the “parens patriae,” or “guardian of public interests.” As such, the Attorney-General was charged with protecting the rights of both the crown and the public . Therefore Her Majesty’s Attorney General for England and Wales is one of the Law Officers of the Crown.

The Office of Attorney-General came into being in Nigeria as part of the received English Law under the Statutes of General Application (SOGA) which provide to the extent that all laws enforced in England as at 1st January 1900 (excluding Common Law and Equity) is deemed to be part of the Nigeria Legal System. However, before the Independence the A-G of the crown performs the responsibility of this office from England. After the independence in 1960, the 1960, 1963 and 1999 Constitution of the FRN provided for the office of Attorney-General of the Federation in Nigeria and since 1960 to 2020, Nigeria had 23 numbers of Attorney-General Federation beginning from the first A-G Federation Hon. Justice Teslim Elias (CFR, GCON 1960-1966) to the present A-G of the Federation Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) who was appointed on 11th November, 2015

5.1.2 THE OFFICE OF THE A.G OF THE FEDERATION (OAGF): The office of A-G of the Federation is by political appointment made by the President; the occupant of such office equally serves as the Minister of Justice. The office is provided for under 150(1) 1999 Constitution of the FRN as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and the Minister of Justice. The section provide thus:

“There shall be an Attorney-General of the Federation who shall be the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation”

The Attorney-General as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation can exercise his power and performs his functions either personally or through any Law officer in the Federal Government Ministries, Department or Agency (MDAs).

The duties of Attorney-General of the Federation are enormous apart from those duties expressly provided for under the constitution. For instance under S.174 of the 1999 Constitution, the A-G of the Federation is constitutionally empowered to institute and undertake any criminal proceedings against any person before any Court of law in Nigeria in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of National Assembly. The office of A-G of the Federation is responsible for but not limited to thefollowing duties:

Ensuring accessibility to justice for all persons in Nigeria.
Providing Legal Advice to Federal Government on its treaties obligation, facilitating the transaction of government polices into legislation through the drafting of Executive Bills in accordance with directives from the President or Federal Executive Council (FEC) for Laws to be enacted by the National Assembly.
Providing legal advice to the Federal Government Ministries, Statutory bodies, and Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government; Preparing subsidiary legislation for Federal government and MDAs; and vetting contract agreements on behalf of Federal Government and its MDAs.
Prosecute criminal matters on behalf of the Federal Government through law officers in his office; Defending the Federal Government, Ministries, Statutory bodies, Departments and Agencies of Federal Government in all Civil matters instituted against them where the Act establishing such MDAs did not provide for their in house law officers to prosecute and defend civil cases on behalf of their institution.
Attending the Federal Executive Council meeting where policies are formulated for the Federal Government;
Performing other duties assigned to his office by the defferent Act of National Assembly such as Section 111 of Stamp Duties Act on the recovery of Stamp Duties debt owed to the government.
He is equally appointed a statutory member of Board of many Federal Government MDAs such as FIRS etc.
6.1 ROLE OF THE A-G OF THE FEDERATION IN THE RECOVERY OF BACK-YEARS DUTIES UNDER THE STAMP DUTIES ACT.

The involvement of the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation in the recovery of back-years Stamp Duties is centered on the provision of Section 111 of the Stamp Duties Act which provide thus:

“All duties, fines and debt due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in summary manner in the name of the Attorney-General of the Federation or of the State.”

It is evidently clear by the above Section that, once it is established that duties, liabilities, fines or debt is owed to Federal Government under any provision of the Stamp Duties Act, the A-G Federation is statutorily empowered to summarily recover same from any person or body of persons liable to pay such debt, duties and or interest owed to Federal Government.

The National Assembly in their wisdom have put a limit to how far the A-G Federation can go in back-years stamp duties recovery of such debt, duties and interest owed to the Federal Government. Section 114 of the Stamp Duties Act provides thus:

“All proceedings for recovery of any duties, fines, penalty and debt due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act, MAY be commenced or prosecuted at any time within five years after the offence committed by reason whereof such duty, fine, penalty or debt shall be incurred”

Interestingly, if one applies the literal rule of interpretation of legislation in respect of S.111 & S.114 of SDA provided above, one will naturally come up with the following observations.

The A-G Federation is unequivocally empowered to recover all duties, fines, penalty and debt due to the Government of the Federation under SDA.
The Recovery to be made by the A-G Federation is limited to only 5 preceding years and no more.
What is to be recovered by the A-G Federation is not only duties, fines, penalty and debt but includes interest on such duties, fines and penalties not paid. The word “debt” used in the Section in my opinion includes “interest” owed to the government on duties (tax) not paid on the rate as provided by Section 32 of FIRSEA 2007.
The A-G of the Federation in recovery of all duties, fines, penalty and debt due to the Government of the Federation under SDA MAY prosecute some tax offenders who failed or neglected to pay their duties liabilities established after the Demand Letters was served on them by the Office of the A-G of the Federation. The use of the word “May” in Section 114 SDA signify elective and not mandatory, meaning if the office of  A-G of the Federation so desires; he may prosecute the tax offender using criminal prosecution; more so that such power is constitutionally provided for under Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of FRN which empowered the A-G Federation to institute and undertake any criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria. This is  in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National Assembly (including offences as it relates to the recovery of back years duties under SDA) of the A-G Federation if he so desires may use civil procedure to recover such debt owed to the government.
Section 110 SDA stipulates to the extent that the A-G of the Federation can include any current fine, penalty or duties liability in the process of back years duties recovery under the SDA. For the avoidance of doubt the S. 110 SDA provide thus: “Proceedings for the recovery of any duty imposed by this Act or for the recovery of any debt due to the Government of the Federation under this Act may be included in any proceedings for the recovery of a fine or penalty under this Act”

7.1 THE POWER OF THE PRESIDENT IN COMPOUNDMENT OF OFFENSES UNDER SDA: The Office of Attorney General of the Federation in exercise of his power under 111 of SDA either through the Law Officers in his office or through a Recovery Agent appointed by the A.G Federation, Once the A.G or the Agent so appointed has conducted an audit, established and declared the Stamp Duties liabilities of a duty payer on a dutiable instruments, such stamp duties liability declared cannot be reduced or mitigated by anybody, or any office including the Office of Attorney-General of Federation except the President or the Governor as the case may be. For avoidance of doubt, Section 112 SDA provides thus;

“The amount to which any person is declared to be liable in respect of any fine or penalty and the amount due as a debt to the Government of the Federation under this Act shall not, except as hereinafter provided, be subject to any mitigation.”

Section 113 SDA provide thus:

“The President or governor as the case may be, may in his discretion MITIGATE any fine or penalty or debt due to the government of the Federation under this Act or STAY or COMPOUND any proceedings for recovery thereof and may also after judgment further mitigate or remit any such fine, penalty or debt”

In essence, under the process of recovery of back-years Stamp Duties owed to the Federal Government   by the A-G Federation, the President has the power to mitigate, reduce Stamp Duties liability for any tax offender under the SDA.

It is worthy of note that, any tax offender under the SDA who is charged to Court by the A.G Federation in prosecution of an offence committed by such person under the SDA; can apply to the President through the Office of the A-G of the Federation for the Conpoundment of Offense the charged. The President under S.113 of SDA has the power to compound the offense and request such offender to pay certain amount of money upon which the criminal prosecution will be discontinued accordingly. An application for compoundment can be made to the President during the pendency of criminal proceeding before Court in respect of recovery of back years duties, and the decision of the President on such application will be communicated to the applicant and to the Court through any officer of the Law from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

8.1 CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS.
There are many limitations that can pose a challenge to the effective and smooth implementation of the back-year Stamp Duties recovery by the A-G Federation under the SDA, this includes but not limited to the following:

Some of the sanctions provided as penalty and fines for non compliance with the provision of the Stamp duties Act which is equally not covered by the Federal Inland Revenue Service Establishment Act 2007 are ridiculously low and has defected the purpose of sanction as deterrence mechanism.
Despite the provision of Section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution of FRN which put an obligation on all citizen to pay their taxes promptly to the government, many of the duty payers may not be patriotic enough to comply with Demand Letter issued by the A-G of the Federation in the process of Back year Stamp Duties recovery and such person or body of person may result to litigation which will invariably pose a challenge in the process.
Though Section 111 of SDA empowers the A-G of the Federation to recover in a summary manner all debt, duty and penalty owe to the Government under SDA. The SDA did not further define the special procedure for Court to adopt which the legislature had in mind when they inserted the word “recoverable in summary manner” in the section.
The back year stamp duties recovery process in many cases particularly in respect of Private sector duty payers; may end up in Federal High Court (FHC) for enforcement. And the reality is that, Honorable Justices of the FHC though are very versatile on general aspect of Federal laws; but may be lacking in knowledge and experience in the field of taxation and Stamp Duties Administration specifically.
i, The provision for compoundment of offence under Section 113 of SDA which empowered the President to compound offences under the Stamp Duties Act is in conflict with S.48 of FIRSEA which empowered the Service to compound offence under the FIRSEA; the challenge is that, some of these offences under both Acts are similar. But worthy of note is that Section 68 of FIRSEA provide for the supremacy of Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 over all other Federal Tax laws including the Stamp Duties Act which is Item 6 of the 1st schedule to the FIRSEA.

ii, Sections 111 & 110 of SDA as provided above is in conflict with Sections 2, 8(1)(b)(c), 25 & 47 of FIRSEA as regard to the recovery of current year Stamp Duties by A-G Federation. For instance, the year 2021 is the current year of stamp duties collection, if the A-G Federation decides to extent back year stamp Duties recovery to include 2021 under S.110 of SDA; this will encroach or impinge into the jurisdiction of the FIRS on the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria which include assessment of current year duties, collection and accounting of same in accordance to Federal Inland Revenue (Establishment) Act 2007

iii, Section 111 of SDA which empowered the A-G Federation to recover back-years duties did not provide the manner or procedure in which such tax revenue recovered from unpaid duties will be accounted for. This in my opinion may pose a challenge as to where the money will be paid to and who is accountable for it under the law?. Taking into cognizance that Section 2 of FIRSEA empowers the Service to collect all Federal Taxes including Stamp duties and to account for it. While Section 8(1)(b)&(c) of FIRSEA further provides that:

“The Service (FIRS) shall

(b)Assess, collect, account and enforce payment of taxes as may be due to Government or any of its agencies.

(c)Collect, recover and pay to the designated account any tax under any provision of this act or any other enactment or law.” (Stamp Duties Act is item 6; one of the Federal Tax listed under the 1st Schedule to FIRSEA)

The literal interpretation of the above means: all duties collected or recovered under any provision of the SDA based on the supremacy of FIRSEA by virtue of Section 68 of the FIRSEA such Tax revenue shall be accounted for in accordance to Section 8(1)( c) of the FIRSEA by the Chief accounting officer of the FIRS as provided under Section 11(b) of FIRSEA.

6. Challenges that may be faced in the process of recovery of back year Stamp Duties from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) of Government under Section 111 of SDA is that, many MDAs may not have the fund readily at hand to pay duties owed to Government when Demand Notice is served on them. However Section 24 of FIRSEA has empowered the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct at source from the budgetary allocation, un-remitted taxes due from MDAs and shall not later than 30days thereafter transfer such deduction to the Service (FIRS). The conflict that may arise here is that, even though Section 111 SDA empowers the A-G Federation to recover duties, penalty and debt owed to the Federal Government, where the Accountant-General of the Federation is called upon to deduct from the source in the process of recovery of such duties not paid by MDAs, the Account General of the Federation must as a matter of law based on Section 24 & 68 of FIRSEA transfer all the deduction made to the CBN dedicated revenue account open for FIRS collection within 30days after and not to the A-G Federation under whose name the recovery is made.

9.1 RECOMMENDATIONS:
Having carefully studied the likely challenges the implementation of the recovery of back-years Stamp Duties under the SDA may face, I make the following recommendations as a way forward.

1. There is the need for FIRS to make use of the opportunities available to it in the ongoing process of drafting the proposed Finance bill 2021 which may be submitted by the President to National Assembly together with 2022 Budget as was done in the preceding year of 2020. FIRS should make recommendations for the amendment of the SDA amongst others on the following suggested critical areas:

a. There is a need to review upward; penalty and fines for some offences under Sections 11 (3), S.13(1)&(2), 23(1) S.25 and S.27(2) S.32(1), S.42(2) & S.87 of the Stamp Duties Act which are ridiculously low and are not intendment with the current economic realities of Nigeria.

b. This Section 111,110 & 113 SDA was introduced in 1964 Stamp Duties Act Amendment when the then Federal Board of Inland Revenue (FBIR) and the current FIRS was not yet established and when the statutory duty to collect stamp duties was on the Federal government under Section 4(1) of SDA before the amendment by S.53 of Finance Act 2019. There is therefore a need to amend such sections to bring it in conformity with the provision of FIRSEA 2007 No. 13 in line with S.68 of FIRSEA.

c. A special summary Procedure for recovery of stamp duties, penalty and fine owed to the Government under the SDA should be prescribed or inserted by the National assembly in the proposed Finance Act to guide the Court.

d. The mandatory requirements for all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government and Financial Institutions to key into the Stamp duties collection automation system should be inserted into the SDA via the proposed Finance Act 2020.(So that for instance 1% duties on all contract agreement will be deducted at source by the MDAs and be paid on behalf of the contractor from the first payment of such contract sum)

e. The Schedules to SDA should be amended and reorganized into three (3) schedules namely: 1st schedule for all Ad-valorem dutiable instruments, 2nd Schedule for Fixed dutiable instrument and 3rd Schedule for other general matters under SDA. This is for precision and simplicity of the Act.

f. The rights of duty payers in the process of recovery of debt, duties and penalty owed to the government of the Federation in the name of the Attorney-General of the Federation as it is currently constituted should be well spelt out in the SDA to avoid tax disputes.

2. The Ministry of Finance through the Presidency should recommend that the National Assembly by resolution of the both houses under Section 116 of SDA increase duties payable on certain instruments that are ridiculously low, particularly the fixed duties instrument with exclusion of money deposit receipts (whether physical or electronically.)

3. The A-G of Federation should request the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to designate Judges in each of the six (6) geopolitical zones in Nigeria that will handle tax matters majorly in addition to other matters that may be assigned to such judge in order to promote speedy conclusion of tax cases pending when a Federal Tax Court is established.

4. The Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ), National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF) through it Agency FIRS by extension should organize a continues holistic training of some selected judges of the Federal High Court on tax practice and procedures in Nigeria as this will enhance their skills in speedy adjudication of tax matter brought before them.

10.1 CONCLUSION:
Government needs tax revenue to effectively implement its yearly budgets, and if citizens by extension corporate bodies or institutions don’t pay tax or don’t pay the right tax at the time stipulated by law; it will affect tax revenue generation. Hence the effective recovery of back-years Stamp duties by the Office of Attorney General of the Federation as it is presently constituted under the Stamp Duties Act will serve as a tool for an increase in tax revenue generation. There is need for cooperation and partnership between the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government for the smooth administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria. For instance, if 1% of all contract sums awarded by both Federal and State Government to corporate organizations for execution in respect of capital budget of the Federal Government (including Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government) and State government (including State MDAs) are paid and remitted to government as tax revenue every year, it will boost the annual revenue generation of the government.

CONCLUSION:
Government needs tax revenue to effectively implement its yearly budgets, and if citizens by extension corporate bodies or institutions don’t pay tax or don’t pay the right tax at the time stipulated by law; it will affect tax revenue generation. Hence the effective recovery of back-years Stamp duties by the Office of Attorney General of the Federation as it is presently constituted under the Stamp Duties Act will serve as a tool for an increase in tax revenue generation. There is need for cooperation and partnership between the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government for the smooth administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria. For instance, if 1% of all contract sums awarded by both Federal and State Government to corporate organizations for execution in respect of capital budget of the Federal Government (including Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government) and State government (including State MDAs) are paid and remitted to government as tax revenue every year, it will boost the annual revenue generation of the government.

Written By Zhihwi Dauda Esq. (LL.B, B.L, LLM, ACIT), E-mail: daudathihwi@gmail.com Phone: 08059538671

[1]  Z. Dauda “An Over View of the Stamp Duties Administration in Nigeria” https://thenigerialawyer.com/an-overview-of-the-stamp-duties-administration-in-nigeria-with-the-finance-act-2019-amendment/ accessed on 18/8/2020.

[2]  S. 58 Finance Act 2019,S. 2 and 25 of FIRSEA and Item 6 of 1st Schedule to FIRSEA 2007

[3] https://dailypost.ng/2020/07/01/nigerian-govt-moves-to-recover-6-year-stamp-duty-backlog/ accessed on 18/8/2020.

[4]  The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Audit and back-year Stamp Duties recovery  was inauguration of the  by Mr Boss Mustapha  Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)

[5]  Stamp Duties Act Cap S8 LFN (2004) Revised Edition Volume 13 LFN 2010

[6] Vanguard news paper on line https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/06/fg-moves-to-recover-unremitted-5-year-stamp-duty/ (Accessed on 23 of August,2020)

[7] Vanguard news paper online https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/07/firs-muhammad-nami-to-deliver-keynote-address-on-stamp-duty-webinar/ Accessed on 26th July, 2020.

[8] Ibid Foot Note no.1

[9] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/08/firs-generates-n3bn-from-stamp-duty-weekly-%E2%80%95-nami/ Accessed on 26th July, 2020.

[10] Sarah Winkler “History of an Attorney General” https://people.howstuffworks.com/government/local-politics/attorney-general.htm Accessed on 28th August, 2020

[11] The Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales. In 1673 the Attorney General officially became the Crown’s adviser and representative in legal matters, although still specializing in litigation rather than advice. Wikipedia “A-G for England and Wales https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney_General_for_England_and_Wales. Accessed on 28th August, 2020

[12] Godwin Iheabunike, Esq.  (Deputy Director FMOJ) & Legal Adviser PTAD. In his paper “Powers and Duties of the Attorney-General of the Federation” being presentation  made during the in house training program organized by the Department of Human Resources of the Federal Ministry of Justice for the promotion examination candidates.
 
[13] https://www.justice.gov.ng/index.php/the-ministry/history/past-attorney-generals-of-the-federation. Accessed on 28th of August, 2020.

 

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