The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami has written President Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the Senate, and the Ministry of Finance to make representation to insist that the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) should be the collector of stamp duty and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Communications and Digital Economy Minister made this known on Friday while fielding questions during an interactive session with members of the press in Abuja.
The NIPOST and the FIRS have been at loggerheads over who should collect stamp duty, which sparked protests from different quarters, including from the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), which NIPOST workers are under as a trade union.
While the FIRS contends that it had the sole responsibility for the collection of all taxes and duties in the country, NIPOST is the repository of stamps and duties introduced since the colonial days.
Pantami stated that the Ministry has made representation to the Federal Government to insist that NIPOST should be the collector of stamp duty and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and by implication the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“So, we have challenged the status quo about the collection of stamp duty. To me, stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST because the way customs collect customs duty, then stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST. I believe FIRS has been working to be the one collecting stamp duty.
“The crisis started before I was appointed, and I was not briefed on time by the board and management of NIPOST of the real situation until it was deteriorated.
‘But when I heard of it, I intervened immediately, I presented the case to the President that as far as am concerned stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST, there is no harm for FIRS to support them or work harmoniously, but stamp duty should not be for Ministry of Finance, there is no justification”.
“It is only sometimes when you have the privilege of working on a document you are trying to amend to protect your interest, this was what happened. It was done by FIRS, they were told to invite stakeholders on whom will collect stamp duty, without involving the Ministry of Communication, without involving NIPOST, they invited few stakeholders that will support their interest, they endorsed it and said FIRS should collect it.
“So we objected to It, I personally wrote a letter to the President on that, I wrote to the Minister of Finance that this will not be tolerated, I also wrote a letter to the President of the Senate on that issue.
“We have no power to change, but we have the power to challenge injustice, as far as am concerned, this is one of the many injustices that can be challenged, and I will continue to challenge it. So, it is a selfish interest trying to deny NIPOST of that one,” Pantami said.
The Minister also unveiled the plan for the transformation of NIPOST with regard to undertaking a total restructuring and transformation of NIPOST.
“We will also commercialise some activities of the organisation by registering few companies to ensure the renovation and commercialisation of dilapidated NIPOST structure all over the country starting with NIPOST facilities in major cities,” he said.
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