FG stops FIRS, mandate NIPOST to collect stamp duty

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The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has reclaimed the collection of stamp duty charges from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami announced on Thursday.

The development brought to an end more than three years of controversy and acrimony over the claims of ownership of stamp duty collections in the country between the two Federal Agencies.

Pantami made the remarks at the launch of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary Commemorative Postage Stamps held at the Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja.

The Minister who broke the news commended President Muhammadu Buhari, and the leadership of the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Communications and Digital Economy for their interventions on the matter.

“Our efforts regarding the issue of stamp duty collection with other government Institutions have yielded positive results,” Pantami said.

“NIPOST has been recognized as a government agency with statutory and historical authority to be the producer of stamps and recognised for collection of stamp duties for validation of financial transactions in the country.”

The two government agencies had been engaged at loggerheads over whose responsibility it is to collect the Stamp Duty charge for the government.

Chairperson of NIPOST board Maimuna Abubakar accused the National Assembly and FIRS of overriding NIPOST’s responsibility.

Abubakar said NIPOST is the agency saddled with the responsibility of printing and providing postage stamps for payment of postage tariff and payment of stamp duties by decree No. 18 of 1987

However, the FIRS argued that it is the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties.

The announcement by Pantami is expected to end controversy of over three years over the claims of ownership of stamp duty collections in the country between the two Federal Agencies.

Pantami praised the management of NIPOST and other stakeholders for their resilience, saying it was heartwarming that critical stakeholders ensured that justice was done on the issue.

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“We appreciate Mr. President for listening to our complaints, and we extend our gratitude to him and the Senate and House Committees for their intervention in ensuring that justice was done,” Pantami said.

He said challenges of regulation; policy and financing confronting NIPOST over the years are being addressed with a view to place the Agency on a platform that would enable it to generate revenue for the Federal Government.

He said NIPOST would be unbundled into three companies to boost its operations, while efforts are on the pipeline for Federal Executive Council to approve the renovation and rehabilitation of all its dilapidated offices across Nigeria.

Pantami noted that 97 percent of the rules making procedures of NIPOST is being done to facilitate robust debates on the Acts establishing the Agency.