NIPOST VS FIRS: FIRS Statement Calls NIPOST Board Chairman “A Privileged Young Lady”, As The Agencies Drag Stamps Production Rights
Eyebrows have been raised as a tussle between the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) escalated into a battle of words on social media on Tuesday.
This is coming as Board Chairman for NIPOST, Maimuna Abubakar, on Sunday sent up a plea against the FIRS, and alleging that said organization ‘stole’ NIPOST’s mandate, with reference to the production and sales of stamps.
“I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate. #justicefornipost.
FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us”, Mrs. Abubakar tweeted on Sunday.
Abubakar further alleged that NIPOST are the sole custodians of national stamps, and therefore, another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land.
“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 said.
Abubakar said NIPOST is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamps, and as such, revenue for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST.
“Nipost is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamp and revenue for purchase of such adhesive stamp accrues to NIPOST and no other agency . See NIPOST for clarification..
“However the payment of stamp duties as may be assessed made to FIRS being a government agency charged with the responsibility of collecting taxes.
“There is no confusion, tax is ad-valorem (in percentage)
while N50 is the cost of NIPOST stamp.
“Section 11(1),(2) and (3) of the Stamps Duties Act 2004(As Amended 2019) provides that ALL receipts, documents and registrable instruments upon which duty is liable to be imposed shall be denoted using an adhesive postage stamp and the affixed adhesive postage stamp”.
NIPOST’s Statement Reads In Response:
In response, NIPOST issued a long statement signed by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, Director Communication and Liaison, Federal Inland Revenue Service. Nigerians have however termed the brusque response from FIRS as discourteous. See below:
THAT VEXED NIPOST TWEET BY MRS. MAIMUNA ABUBAKAR
We appreciate the general public for demonstrating deep knowledge of the difference between Stamp Duty and Postage Stamp. It is unfortunate that Mrs. Maimuna Abubakar, Chairperson of the NIPOST Board is yet to understand this.
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-ordinated postal services at reasonable rates.
This function is clearly contrary to the claim by NIPOST over the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria.
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.
It is therefore shocking to us that such a privileged young lady who happened to be appointed to high office would throw all caution to the air to cast aspersions on reputable public institutions like the National Assembly and FIRS, which she accused of stealing NIPOST idea.
This, to say the least, is a preposterous claim and great disservice to the government and people of Nigeria.
We wish to state categorically that, as an agency which operates within the ambit of the law the FIRS is determined to not only ensure that all monies collected by NIPOST into its illegally operated Stamp Duties Account are fully remitted into the Federation Account but also make sure that any kobo not accounted for in that account is legally recovered in line with the charge of President Muhammadu Buhari to the recently inaugurated Inter-ministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duties from 2016 till date.
In addition, 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.
The public is hereby reminded that we at the FIRS are resolute in our resolve to safeguard national interests and not any personal ego or interest as NIPOST officials appear to carry on lately.
We therefore call on right-thinking Nigerians to disregard that ill-advised tweet by Mrs. Maimuna Abubakar and allied misinformation being disseminated by NIPOST in relation to Stamp Duties collection, which by law is the responsibility of the FIRS.
Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad
Director Communication and Liaison
Federal Inland Revenue Service
Maimuna Abubakar’s response to NIPOST:
Under the extant laws of Nigeria to wit the NIPOST Act, the Stamp Duties Act and the Finance Act, the adhesive postage stamp is not only used for postage it is the only stamp with which denoting of ALL receipts documents and registrable instruments is to be done in Nigeria.
The Tax Certificate or a Tax Clearance Certificate and any other formalized document issued by the FIRS whether in the form of a paper copy or an electronic copy which is printed out remains a document liable to be denoted with an adhesive postage stamp minted by NIPOST.
The Finance Act 2019 did not delete nor repeal neither did it amend Section 5(d) nor Section 34(1) and (2) of the NIPOST Act 2004.
Section 34(2) of the NIPOST Act 2004 provides and vests in the Postmaster General of NIPOST the power to appoint or engage agents as business partners to sell by retailing the adhesive postage stamps minted by NIPOST.
Section 5(d) of the NIPOST Act 2004 provides and vests solely in NIPOST the power to mint stamps. This power is exercised by the Postmaster General of NIPOST pursuant to the provision of Section 34(1) of the NIPOST Act 2004..
The receipt issued by the FIRS whether in the form of a paper receipt or an electronic receipt which is printed out remains a receipt liable to be denoted with an adhesive postage stamp minted by NIPOST.
Section 89(1) of the Stamps Duties Act 2004(As Amended 2019) provides that a receipt evidencing the payment of a money amount N4:00k(Four naira) and above MUST be denoted using an adhesive postage stamp and the affixed adhesive postage stamp cancelled out.