It appears that the ongoing impasse between the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS over ‘stamp duty’ is beginning to assume another dimension, especially as Nigerians have started venting their reservations over the development.
The FIRS had on June 30 launched its own brand of an adhesive stamp, a development that caused ripples in NIPOST who is also constitutionally mandated to charge stamp duties on postages.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that on Monday, the quarrel assumed another dimension when the chairperson of the NIPOST Board, Maimuna Abubakar, took to her Twitter handle to take on the FIRS for allegedly stealing the NIPOST mandate.
In a series of tweets, Ms Abubakar expressed worries over what she described as FIRS usurping of the constitutional mandate of NIPOST, saying “FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us”.
“I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate.”
“NIPOST are the sole custodians of national stamps, another agency printing and selling stamps are against the law of the land.
“FIRS did not only steal our stamps but also our ideas, what NIPOST had worked for since 2016, our documents, patent and sneaked everything into finance bill and tactically removed the name of NIPOST
“I like to make this clear, NIPOST is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamps and revenue for the for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST
“There is nowhere in FIRS act or stamp duty act where it’s so stated that FIRS can produce stamp or sale stamp
“Did you know that NIPOST had generated over 60b in NIPOST CBN account for the Federal Government?,” she wrote.
Reacting, Abdullahi Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of FIRS, in a statement on Tuesday, said that Ms Abubakar’s claim was untrue, adding that it was wrong for her to treat the issue in that manner.
According to him, that necessitated the need to correct the impression in order not to mislead the public.
He said: “To be sure, NIPOST is a government parastatal (agency) established by Decree 41 of 1992 with the function to develop, promote, and provide adequate and efficiently coordinated postal services at reasonable rates.
“This function is clearly contrary to the claim by NIPOST over the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria.
“On the other hand, the FIRS is the sole agency of the government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties.”
Nigerians react on social media
One Savanna Princess tweeted: “Sadly, this cry is coming a little too late. The process has been on for time long enough for you to meet the Executive & Nat Assembly to push your case.
“FIRS has been collecting stamp duty for long & selling stamps is a result of your lackadaisical attitude!
“This matter cannot be settled on Twitter. Put a position paper together and meet the relevant authorities. If you can’t get what you believe is right, walk the path of integrity….you know what I mean!”
Another user, Optimistic Muhammad, wrote: “It seems you are working in a place you don’t know it’s role.
“It’s better you resign and allow someone more competent and enlightened on the responsibility of NIPOST takes over than claiming FIRS is stealing the responsibility that is never of NIPOST. Onsibility that is never of NIPOST.”
While @Oj_ibiloye shared his opinion thus: “Before you trend #justicefornipost, get familiar with the Stamp Duty Act.
“You have to look at the legal framework and direct your questions to those who enacted the law (the same people who can repeal it).”
@ibi1shani said: “For her information, Stamp Duties Act dates back to 1939. Even the section that states that adhesive stamp may be used to denote payment of stamp duty did not say it must be postage adhesive stamp.
“First Schedule 2 FIRSEA made First d only administrator of Stamp Duties.”