Many Nigerians have criticised the introduction of N50 stamp duty on Savings accounts by commercial banks in the country, saying it would discourage savings, increase suffering of the masses and derail the nation’s bid to go cashless.
Some Savings Account holders with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) voiced their displeasure on the planned introduction of the charge by the bank.
The introduction came days after the pan-African bank announced it had donated N5 billion through the UBA Foundation to assist efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus on the continent.
The bank announced that the introduction of the N50 stamp duty would kick off on Wednesday, April 1, noting that it was in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s directive.
A UBA customer, Mr. Bren Daniel said the stamp duty hike should be suspended in view of the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said, “Sometimes I wonder if our leaders are actually human beings. With all the effects of coronavirus in Nigeria, CBN refused to suspend the stamp duty hike.
“Other countries are providing aids and solutions for their citizens and businesses, even paying them to stay at home.
“Here what do we have? We are paying the government to stay at home, just got this information today from my bank and I have been asking myself are these leaders really human beings?”
Another customer, who craved anonymity, took to social media to berate the CBN and commercial banks for not suspending stamp duty hike this period.
He wrote, “Even in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, stamp duty was still introduced to Savings account by the CBN still under the leadership of our corruption-fighting president in person of Buhari; when other nations presidents were instructing and giving out aids to their respective citizens and taking good care of their people.”
A Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) customer and small business owner wrote, “One time they say we should all go cashless policy, then they come around to start taking N50 out of my money received via bank transfer to stamp only God knows what.
“Please what’s the essence of the cashless policy again? Because right now, I am only interested in collecting hard cash from customers.”
Also, customers of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc expressed displeasure with the bank’s decision to collect N50 stamp duty on payments into customers’ Savings account.
An FBN customer, Victor Ifeanyi, said the bank did not inform him before commencing the deduction.
Ifeanyi said when he visited a branch of the bank in Okota, Lagos to complain about N50 deduction on any payment of N10,000 or above into his Savings account in recent times, he was informed that it was a transaction charge.
“After going to the Bank’s branch to complain, I was told to go home that it was transaction charges on my account. I argued that I have only received the money in my account which was about N25,000. The lady asked me to go that it was a directive from CBN.
“I went to another branch and I was told the debits were stamp duty charges for the monies I received. Seriously, how can the apex bank encourage the underserved to own bank accounts or be financially included and support its cashless policy and yet rip us off N50 on all credits above N10,000?
“This is simply daylight robbery and would simply scare people away from operating Savings accounts and make people embrace carrying cash rather than using the available digital platforms. It would hinder CBN’s financial inclusion agenda,” Guardian quoted him as saying.