The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, this weekend in Abuja, formally expressed his protest against moves by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to take away stamp duty collection from the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).
“For us, it is a selfish interest trying to deny NIPOST the right to collect the duty,’’ said the minister during a media parley even as he assured that his ministry would not relent in ensuring that the collection of stamp duty is domiciled in the government postal organisation.
Also, the minister revealed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was yet to decide on the matter.
Stamp duty collection is managed under an Act that was passed into law called the Stamp Duties Act 2004 and Federal Government Financial Regulations 2009, but its full implementation started in 2016.
Stamp duty is imposed at the rate of 0.75% on the authorised share capital at incorporation of a company or on registration of new shares. All deposit banks and financial institutions are required to charge stamp duties of NGN 50 on every eligible transaction above NGN 1,000.
Daily stamp duty collection runs into billions of naira and could provide the much needed fund for the struggling NIPOST to rework its business life.
Pantami, whose ministry oversees the NIPOST, described as faulty, the procedures, the tax agency adopted to override what he deemed as lawfully belonging to the NIPOST.
‘‘They [FIRS] only invited few stakeholders that will support their interest who endorsed it saying that FIRS should collect Stamp Duty but we objected to it,” the minister told technology journalists at the Abuja parley; adding that the ministry had already taken steps to correct the strictures.
“I wrote a letter to the Minister of Finance saying that this cannot be tolerated; I also wrote the Senate President on the issue, we insisted on our stand.
His words: “Though, we have no power to change government policy but we have power to challenge injustice and as far as I am concerned, this is one of the many injustices that should be challenged.
‘‘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 government has the final say on it but we insist that NIPOST is the right agency to do that.”
NIPOST staff recently embarked on a protest against the attempt by the FIRS to take over stamp duty collection which runs into several billions.