The Federal government has decided that the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) will now be responsible for collecting stamp duty charges in the country.
This decision was announced by the honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami during the launch of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary Commemorative Postage Stamps in Abuja.
This new development brings an end to years of dispute and controversy between the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on who should be responsible for the collection of the charges.
Recall that in August 2020, NIPOST and FIRS clashed over Stamp duties collection after NIPOST reacted to claims by the FIRS that it is operating an illegal Stamp Duty Account.
However, NIPOST denied the accusation saying that the statement is false and was made to misinform and mislead members of the public.
The Chairperson of the Board of NIPOST, Hajiya Maimuna Abubakar, then claimed that both the FIRS and the National Assembly took over NIPOST’s ideas about stamp duty and excluded the postal service from it.
But the FIRS refuted this claim insisting that it’s remains the only agency of the federal government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting for all types of taxes including stamp duties.
FG settles the dispute
After the disagreement between the agencies went public, the FG waded into the issue. The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, earlier this year revealed that his office was brokering peace between NIPOST and FIRS on the issue of stamp duties.
The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, from the onset, has thrown his weight behind NIPOST. He insisted then that the collection of Stamp duty was the sole responsibility of NIPOST, faulting the decision of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to take over.
However, it took the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Communications and Digital Economy for the matter to be resolved.
According to Pantami, NIPOST has been recognised as a government agency with statutory and historical authority to be the producer of stamps and recognized for the collection of stamp duties for validation of financial transactions in the country.
“Our efforts regarding the issue of stamp duty collection with other government Institutions have yielded positive results. 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,”Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
He added that NIPOST would be unbundled into 3 companies to boost its operations, adding that there are plans by the Federal Executive Council to approve the renovation and rehabilitation of all its dilapidated offices across Nigeria.
The dispute between the FIRS and NIPOST cost the country a lot of money last year. According to Leadership, the spat between the agencies resulted in the Federal Government not remitting any of the stamp duty charges it received for the whole of 2020.
This means that the estimated total of about N462 billion expected based on budgetary estimates remains unaccounted for. This development could have been the main catalyst for the main bodies coming together to settle the dispute.
Going forward, NIPOST will handle stamp collection and hopefully it will be able to transparently revert into the FG account.
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