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TWO FIGHTING: FIRS AND NIPOST IN TWITTER MUD FIGHT OVER CONTROL OF STAMP DUTIES

Secret Reporters

Following the substantial amendments of the finance bill which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 13, 2020, and in what has become a norm among Federal agencies, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has accused the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) of deliberately infringing on its mandate by collecting stamp duty

This was seen in a tweet by the Board Chairman Barr. Maimuna Yaya Abubakar on August 3, 2020, via her unverified Twitter handle where she expressed her displeasure over the breach of protocol by the Revenue Agency who wittingly usurped the powers of NIPOST in the selling of adhesive stamps.

“I am worried for NIPOST. I am having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate. FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us. What is happening, are we expected to keep quiet and let FIRS kill and bury NIPOST? We need to get our mandate back’’, She averred.

Insisting that the FIRS has overstepped its bounds, the NIPOST boss emphasized that in line with the latest reforms introduced by President Muhammadu Buhari, the responsibility of adhesive stamp production falls within the purview of the Postal Agency.

Barr. Abubakar further stated that, while NIPOST was putting finishing touches on its design and implementation, they were bewildered to discover that the Federal inland Revenue Service did not only steal their ideas but went ahead to sell adhesive Stamps.

Pained by the actions of the FIRS, the Postal boss insisted that NIPOST are the sole custodians of National stamps, and other Agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land. She also stated that NIPOST is the only government agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive Stamps and revenue for the purchase of such 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. 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‘’.

In a circular released on July 27, 2020, the Director Communications and liaison department of the FIRS AbdullahiIsmalla Ahmed, unveiled the new FIRS adhesive stamp duty charges on rent and leases introduced to Citizens, Government agencies, Institutions and Private organizations in which they are expected to remit the Stamp duty on their rent to the nearest bank or FIRS office; a move strongly opposed by NIPOST which depends solely on the Federal Government for it capital funding requirement as well as its personnel cost despite generating N45.8 Billion in revenue as at December 13, 2019,  according to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Adegbuyi.

However, the FIRS Director of Communication and Liasion, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad while reacting to the post through a Press release made available via the FIRS official Twitter Handle on August 4, 2020, stated that contrary to the claim that NIPOST has power over the administration of stamp duties, FIRS is the sole agency charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting of all tax including stamp duties.

“…our attention was drawn to the tweet by Mrs Abubakar. Her indecorous tweet would not have deserved any response but for the sensitive nature of the issue at stake, which if not sensibly treated and promptly corrected would likely mislead the public. 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-ordinate postal services at reasonable rates…On the other hand, the FIRS is the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties..’’  He said.

He further disclosed that in-Line with the charge by President Buhari to the recovery of stamp duties from 2016 till date, the agency will not only ensure that all monies collected by NIPOST into its illegally operated stamp account will be fully accounted for and remitted to the Federal Account but see to it that anyone found culpable of misappropriating the funds in the said illegal NIPOST Stamp duties account would be made to face the wrath of the law.

With most government parastatals like NIDCOM vs. Ministry of Communication, FAAN vs. DSS now adopting the usual Nigerian twitter “dragging tactics” to settle inter-agency rivalry, many Nigerians are on their toes as to which agencies might be involved in the next mud fight as there appears to be no synergy between agencies under the government of the day.

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