Stamp Duty: Rivers, FG opt for out-of-court settlement 

Port Harcourt—The Rivers State Government has agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the Federal Government on the backlog of stamp duty owed to the state.

The approval for the state to withdraw the case was granted by the state House of Assembly during plenary on Thursday.

This came as all 36 states of the federation are exploring out-of-court settlement over a case filed at the Supreme Court on the refund of funds collected as stamp duties from the state governments and the payment of five per cent consultancy fee.

The Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Awani-Ibani, on Thursday, read a letter from Governor Nyesom Wike seeking the approval of the House for the payment of the consultancy fee which will be deducted from source.

The lawmakers said the approval for an out-of-court settlement would help to fast-track the refund of all funds collected as stamp duty.

The leader of the House, Martins Ameawhule, explained that the approval would be beneficial.

He stated, “We have looked into the merits and demerits of this. I think that if the consultants were engaged and they need to be paid, we can go ahead to pay the consultants; so that we can access our funds. They would have played certain roles that would make them be in a position to receive the percentage of the funds accruing to the state.

“Mr Speaker, I want to say that we proceed to grant approval for this request so that our state will be part of what other states have agreed to enable these funds get to Rivers State as quickly as possible.”

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