By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
Lagos State House of Assembly through its Committee on Finance, has charged the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Rabiu Olowo to ensure the state recovers the Stamp Duty remittance of over twenty years estimated at N4.7trillion from the Federal Government.
Honourable Rotimi Olowo, the House Committee Chairman on Finance made the statement at a meeting held in Assembly complex during the week to make inquiries on the remittance of approved stamp duties to the State.
In his words, Olowo expressed that ”COVID-19 has messed up the budget process as a result there is need to explore other sources in a bid to move Lagos State forward”.
He submitted “We need every money we can lay our hands on because the monies we borrowed are being repaid with interest while our money is out there which can transform Lagos to Dubai in two years”.
Olowo added that ” increase Revenue generation to enable the state perform its duties to its citizenry is the preoccupation of the committee” He therefore directed the Commissioner for Finance to report back to the House in fifteen days”.
In a presentation to explain the Stamp Duty recovery, Prof. Kola Adekoya, Rector and Project Consultant of School of Banking Honours, revealed that the Central Bank had at a time granted Lagos State Fifty Naira commission on every stamp duty transaction from a thousand Naira upward.
Upon inquiry from Nigeria Inter Bank Statement (NIBS) it was discovered that Lagos State had been cheated on for four years of this agreement and shut out of the stamp duty for twenty years. Recovery however became difficult due to the Federal Government reluctance and a case against the Federal Government instituted by former Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on stamp duties.
Adekoya sought for the support of the House of Assembly to gazette the research team so as to empower them to recover the money and direct the Attorney General of the State to withdraw the case instituted by former Governor Ambode which will allow the State access the stamp duty percentage backed up by the stamp duty act.
The existing report and documents from the research was given to the Lawmakers and the Commissioner for Finance who in turn promised to digest the information provided.
However, the Commissioner for Finance said ” The truth here is obvious that there is a lot of money outside uncaught by the financial net. We will come back to the House of Assembly to relate our verdict on it. Monies are been owed to Lagos State that needs to be recovered”.
Also present at the meeting are; Honourable Lukman Olumoh, Honourable Nurudeen Solaja, Honourable David Setonji, Honourable Moshood Oshun, Honourable Gbolahan Yishawu and Honourable Ibrahim Layode.