By Dennis Erezi
Nigeria’s tax agency Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Tuesday said the collection of stamp duty by the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is unconstitutional.
“To be sure, NIPOST is a government parastatal established by Decree 41 of 1992 with the function to develop, promote, and provide adequate and efficiently co-ordinated postal services at reasonable rates,” FIRS spokesman Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad said in a statement.
“On the other hand, the FIRS is the sole agency of got charged with the responsibility of *assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties.”
Both FIRS and NIPOST have been at loggerheads over which of the Nigerian government’s agency is constitutionally backed to collect stamp duty taxes in the country.
FIRS in a recent circular said it now has a portal for automated stamp duty collection where all stamp duty paying citizens, government agencies, institutions, and private organisations should log into and pay stamp duties but NIPOST opposed the position.
NIPOST board chairman Maimuna Abubakar accused the FIRS of plotting to override the responsibility of the agency in collecting stamp duty.
“NIPOST are the sole custodians of national stamps, another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land,” Abubakar said in a tweet on Sunday.
“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.”
She insisted that “NIPOST is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamps and revenue for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST.”
The NIPOST board chairman said “There is no where in FIRS act or stamp duty act where it’s so stated that FIRS can produce stamp or sale stamp.”
But FIRS spokesman Ahmad said Abubakar’s claim “is clearly contrary to the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria.”
Ahmad described NIPOST’s position on stamp duty collection as a preposterous claim and great disservice to the government and people of Nigeria.
He warned that anyone found culpable of misappropriating the funds “in the said illegal NIPOST Stamp Duties Account would be made to face the law as provisioned by the country’s statute books.”