August 11, 2020
CAN THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE AMEND THE CONSTITUTION BY A MERE PUBLIC NOTICE?
By Felix Ayem (Associate)
The procedure for constitutional amendment or any other Act in Nigeria is cumbersome and can only be made by the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of section 9 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). In this situation, no individual, ministries and agencies of government are empowered to embark on such duty as the role is constitutionally arrogated to the legislature in line with section 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
This article looks at the constitutionality of the information as contained in the Public Notice issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service on the 20th day of July 2020 wherein, the agency claimed to be exclusively in charge of stamp duties collected by banks in respect of all banking transactions.
THE PUBLIC NOTICE
The Public Notice entitled “Clarification on the Administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria” was issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on 20th July, 2020. Paragraph 5 of the Circular with the heading “Administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria” is set out below for the purpose of emphasis.
“5. Administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria.
- Section 4(1) of the Stamp Duties Act provides that the Federal Inland Revenue Service shall be the only Competent Authority to impose, charge and collect duties upon instruments where such instruments relate to matters executed between a company and any person.
- Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act provides that the relevant authority of a state shall collect duties in respect of instruments executed between individuals.
iii. In respect of banking transactions, the FIRS is vested with the powers to collect stamp duties on all banking transactions.
- As such, the powers given to the State Government through their respective revenue authorities to administer stamp duties by ensuring the assessment, collection and accounting for stamp duties between individuals into the State Government revenue accounts does not include banking transactions.
v. The Stamp Duty Commissioner is appointed by the relevant tax authority (Federal or State) as prescribed by jurisdictional authority to administer the Act. The Function of the Commissioner is to administer the provisions of the Act and to supervise Stamp Duties office; adjudicating/assessment, stamping, the imposition of penalties where necessary, ensuring the security of stamped instruments, and account for duties collected”.
Download full Newsletter here FIRS and Stamp Duties 2 pdf.. as a pdf document.
August 6, 2020
AN EVALUATION OF THE POWER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS
By Akorede Folarin (Associate)
It is not uncommon to see either chamber of the National Assembly inviting different heads/personnel of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and companies to appear before one or more of their standing committees due to one or more issues for determination before them. As a matter of fact, we have severally witnessed face-offs between either chamber and those they invite, often timesowing to challenges by those people or bodies on the propriety or legality of such invitations or the conduct of proceedings. A significant example of this was the embarrassing face-off between the Senate and the Inspector-General of Police in 2018 due to the latter refusing to honour the former’s invitation for investigation into the insecurity, mass violence and extra-judicial killings being witnessed in the country.1
Another is the legendary ‘trial by fire’ of the ex-Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. ArunmaOteh, in 2012. It even so happened that the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the official industry body for telecommunications companies and operators in Nigeria, dragged the National Assembly before the Federal High Court in 2018, complaining that the constant invitation of their CEOs to appear before different committees of the National Assembly affected their daily business operations, and seeking a judicial clarification of the oversight functions carried out by lawmakers in the telecoms sector.2
In view of all the above, this article evaluates the investigative/oversight powers of the National Assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution viz-a-viz highlighting the extent or limit of that power.
CONSTITUTIONAL OVERSIGHT POWERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The legislative oversight power bequeathed upon the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly (HoA) by the Constitution3 is an important part of the fabric of our democratic system of government. It is a power given to the legislature to assist it in performing its role of checks and balances in a democracy.
Download full Newsletter here powers of the National Assembly as a pdf document.