“It Is Illegal For FIRS To Produce Stamps” — NIPOST Workers Threaten Strike Action, Says 15,000 Persons Will Lose Their Jobs
Workers of the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, have issued 21 days ultimatum to the Federal government asking them to stop the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, from printing stamps.
According to them printing of stamps is an exclusive duty reserved for NIPOST adding that if FIRS continues producing stamps no fewer than 15,000 persons in the organisation will be out of job adding to the existing numbers of unemployed persons in the country,
In a press conference General Secretary of Senior Staff of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies Ayo Olorunfemi disclosed that Nigerians have stopped purchasing adhesive stamps from NIPOST.
He therefore called on the government to set up an urgent meeting of stakeholders in order to arrive at an amicable resolution or risk nationwide strike.
He also threatened that the union would report Nigeria to the International Postal Union, saying they can no longer tolerate lip service at the expense of good governance which is the bedrock of development.
He said, “To this end we are calling on the federal government to facilitate an urgent meeting between NIPOST, FIRS, and other stakeholders in order to arrive at an amicable resolution. Failure to do this within 21 days from Thursday July 9 2020, we shall have no other option than to direct all our members in NIPOST to withdraw their services.
“It is very painful that while other nations are protecting and developing their postal services and making maximum use of the services for advancement, Nigeria is busy doing things that will kill its own.”
Olorunfemi acknowledged the power conferred on FIRS to collect stamp duties, even though he maintained that it is illegal for FIRS to produce stamp to denote duties when it could be procured from NIPOST.
His words, “We have not thrown out seeking redress in court to challenge the illegality; we have to exhaust all avenues before seeking redress in court. Some people are trying to play mischief and feeding the President with wrong information. We will not lose less than 15,000 workers and we will not allow that to happen, but we will protect the interest of our members.
“It should be noted that both NIPOST and FIRS are statutory corporations for which this union has jurisdiction to organize their staff. Therefore, our position must always be balanced according to the laws of the land. That is why we are insisting that both organizations must develop a synergy that will enhance higher productivity in the area of stamp matter.
“We recognise the power conferred on FIRS to collect stamp duties just as that of the NIPOST power to produce and issue stamps. These must be acknowledged and recognized in implementing the Finance Act.
“Therefore it is illegal for FIRS to produce stamp to denote duties when it can be procured from NIPOST. It should be noted that stamp is a product of NIPOST as given to it by law. The Finance Act did not give any power to FIRS to produce stamp. In other word to utilize stamp for duties FIRS must get it from NIPOST.”
Recall that last month FIRS produced and launched its owned brand of adhesive stamp.