Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy

Stamp Duty: NIPOST staff oppose FIRS move, threaten strike

*NIPOST workers give Federal Government 21-day ultimate to resolve crisis or risk a strike

*15,000 workers may lose their jobs at NIPOST, says SSASCGOC

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The last may not have been heard over which Federal Government of Nigeria’s agency should collect the seemingly controversial stamp duty between the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as the former’s workers have protested against the printing of stamps by the latter.

It was gathered that the FIRS June 30, 2020, had produced and launched its owned brand of adhesive stamp in the country.

While saying the FIRS move is a usurpation of their duties, the workers under the umbrella body of Senior Staff of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) have issued a 21-day ultimatum during which the Federal Government should facilitate an urgent meeting of stakeholders to resolve the matter amicable or risk a nationwide strike.

The workers reacted that the continuous issuance of adhesive stamps by the FIRS would put not less than 15,000 workers out of job in the Service.

ConsumerConnect recalls that Muhammad Mamman Nami, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in a recent interview with TBY on assumption of duty, said the Service would rather “apply some level of diligence in collecting taxes particularly indirect taxes like VAT and the Stamp Duty which the Finance Act 2019 gives us the right to collect.

“The position of the law on Stamp Duty as of today is that it is the responsibility of the FIRS to collect Stamp Duty on behalf of the Federal Government.

“Since 1939 the Federal Board of Inland Revenue (FBIR), which transformed into FIRS in 1958, had been collecting Stamp Duty.”

According the FIRS Chief, the recently “gazetted Finance Act 2019 has amended s.4(1) of the Stamp Duty Act contained in S.(8) of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to give the FIRS the sole right of collecting Stamp Duty on behalf of the Federal Government.”

Dr. Ayo Olorunfemi, General Secretary of SSASCGOC, at a press conference on the issue, however, said that many Nigerians had stopped buying adhesive stamps from NIPOST because of the FIRS move.

Olorunfemi said the union would not hesitate to report Nigeria to the International Postal Union (IPU) over the matter.

“We can no longer tolerate lip service at the expense of good governance which is the bedrock of development,” said SSASCGOC General Secretary.

He further stated: “To this end, we are calling on the Federal Government to facilitate an urgent meeting between NIPOST, FIRS, SSASCGOC, 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.”

Additional reporting by Gbenga Kayode

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