By Na’ankwat Dariem
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy has insisted that it is the duty of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to collect Stamp Duty for the Federal government instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“The crisis started before my appointment as the Minister and I was not briefed on time about the real situation, but when I heard about it, I intervened and I presented the case to the President that Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST,” the Minister said.
“There’s no harm if FIRS’s supports them and they work harmoniously, but that FIRS or the Ministry of Finance should not do a collection of the duty because there is no justification for that.To me, Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST the way Customs duty is collected by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).”
Dr. Pantami also said he had written to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, opposing the plan to remove the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) from the collection of stamp duty.
It would be recalled that the staff of NIPOST had recently protested against the plans to remove the power to collect stamp duty from NIPOST to FIRS.
He explained that FIRS had summoned a meeting of some stakeholders, without involving the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NIPOST, to deliberate on which agency should collect the revenue.
“We insist, but we have no power to change, but we have the power to challenge injustice. As far as I am concerned, this is one of the injustices that should be challenged and I will continue to challenge it. We insist that Stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST and it is an injustice if NIPOST is denied the opportunity. We have advised the government on this and the government has the final say on it, but we insist that NIPOST is the right agency to do that,” Pantami noted.
The Minister however refuted reports that the Federal Government had concluded that FIRS should henceforth collect stamp duty.
“It is not true that the Federal Government has decided that the FIRS should collect stamp duty. I have been at the Federal Executive Council and I know that it has not been agreed that FIRS should collect stamp duty. The government will decide but we can advise,” he said.
According to him, plans are underway for a total restructructuring and transformation of NIPOST.
He noted that the ministry was being re positioned to align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal government and the global best practices adding that the ministry has developed a draft of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, which captured a digital Nigeria that would ensure that there will be no manual operations.