Responsibility for stamp duty collection between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has been contentious and has remained undetermined as there are signs of a new crisis brewing between the government federal and the union during the question.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in the recently signed budget law, had given responsibility for stamp duty collection to FIRS, instead of NIPOST, which previously performed this function.
There had been a cold war and at times a public tussle between the two agencies of the federal government over who was empowered by the law of the land to assess, collect and account for stamp duty.
NIPOST’s stripping of responsibility for collecting stamp duty has not been welcomed by the Association of Senior Executives of Statutory and State-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
In a conversation with reporters in Abuja over the matter, former SSASCGOC National Chairman and TUC National Treasurer Mohammad Yunusa said the Federal Government had already been taken to court over the matter.
The union viewed the development as a usurpation of its statutory duty by another government agency and even alleged at one point that the decision could result in the loss of around 15,000 jobs at NIPOST.
Yunusa said, “The problem we have that is directly related to the federal government is with the finance law. The finance law gave the main functions of NIPOST, which is one of our branches, to the FIRS and we challenged the government on this very issue in court that this finance law should be annulled.
“You cannot take the statutory function of NIPOST and give it to another agency under the disguise of finance law, we cannot accept it.
“Is there any legal organization authorized to produce and sell stamps in Nigeria apart from NIPOST? This is what they are trying to do but it is not acceptable to us. Yunusa who made these comments on the sidelines of the SSASCGOC, also pledged that his union would do everything possible within its rights to ensure that the moves by the government to privatize Nigerian communications satellites do not materialize.
He argued that the agency would disappear immediately after its privatization. He said: “The Federal Government is trying to interfere in the Nigerian Communications Satellites (NigComSat). Although, to a large extent, we have settled this issue, they have not fully withdrawn.
“The government is considering privatizing this organization on the pretext that it does not generate enough revenue. But we say no! “Once you privatize this organization, especially with the insecurity in Nigeria, all kinds of bandits and insurgents will take over this place because the people you privatize to, only God knows what they would do of this company after you privatized them.
“To some extent the government listened to us, but we can still see signs that they haven’t completely taken their hands off.” In August 2021, NIPOST Board Chair Maimuna Abubakar in a series of tweets accused FIRS of not only stealing the postal agency’s mandate, but also stealing its ideas in sneaking his patent and everything in his paperwork into the finance bill and deleting the NIPOST name.
He claimed that NIPOST is the sole depositary of national stamps, but FIRS prints and sells stamps instead of buying from the post office, which is against the law of the country. However, FIRS in its response explained the difference between stamp duty and postage stamp, emphasizing that it has the mandate to collect stamp duty while NIPOST is in charge of postage stamps.
Summary of news:
- Due to the Treasury law, a new crisis looms over the collection of stamp duties
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