Rivers resumes clamp down on POS merchants still charging N50 stamp duty

Rivers State Government says it would resume clamp down on Operators of Point Of Sale, POS, especially those at filling Stations, who are still in the business of deducting N50 Stamp Duty charge from customers.

The state government also blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria for the directive.

CBN had in December, said the issue of payments of N50 charges by merchants who use Point of Sale (POS) machines for cashless transactions is over, insisting that nobody should pay extra on goods and services.

The CBN explained that the N50 stamp duty is a fee regulated by an act that directs merchants to pay all necessary taxes as regulated by government agencies.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Business Morning programme, the CBN Director of Payment System Management, Musa Jimoh, said the apex bank issued a circular and merchants have misinterpreted the directive.

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“Stamp duty has been misinterpreted, our circular that talks about merchants paying stamp duties according to the law do not say that the stamp duty should be paid by the consumer; that is a misrepresentation of CBN directive. What our directive says is that merchants should pay all necessary tax as regulated by government agencies including stamp duty.

“What we told the merchants is that we would like the banks to ensure that the merchants comply with this directive by ensuring that every single payment that customers make to them, the merchants pay the regulated stamp duty of N50.

“What has happened is that they have actually transferred this fee blatantly and openly to the consumers; this is very wrong. No single individual should pay N50 in addition to the cost of the goods.

He stated that “Stamp duty is not to be paid by individuals that are consuming the goods and services of the merchants, the merchants who are receiving the money are the ones who are supposed to pay.”

Mr Jimoh explained that because the stamp duty is not regulated by the CBN, there are no plans to stop stamp duties.

“Stamp duty is not a CBN regulated fee, it is a fee regulated by an act, and so we can’t change or push anything in that direction.

To this, the stamp duty remains and cannot be changed by the CBN, what we are doing is to ensure that the institutions we regulate (the banks) become more responsible to ensure that these fees are collected and given to the government.

But announcing the policy of the government, Dr. Peter Medee, the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, described the deductions as criminal and illegal, stating that the Apex bank has announced that such deduction was no longer authorized by it.

He regretted that business owners in the state are still collecting the N50 after the Central Bank of Nigeria has directed that it should be stopped.

The Commissioner directed members of the public to report to his Ministry any petrol station still collecting the N50 to for necessary action