The arguments surrounding the Federal Government agency that warehouse proceeds of stamp duty in Nigeria has taken another dimension.
Following the recent protest of workers in Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) over who collect the duty, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has thrown his weight behind NIPOST workers. He faulted the decision of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect stamp duty that it is the sole responsibility of NIPOST.
Speaking in Abuja in an interactive session, the minister explained that stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST as customs duty is collected by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
He stressed on the fact that the Ministry of Finance or the FIRS had no business in the collection of stamp duty, as he insisted that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not authorise the FIRS to collect stamp duty.
‘‘The FIRS has been working to be the agency collecting the duty; the crisis started before my appointment as the minister and I was not briefed on time about the real situation. But when I heard about it, I intervened and I presented the case to the President that Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST.
“There is no harm if FIRS supports them and they work harmoniously but that collection of the duty should not be done by FIRS or the Ministry of Finance because there is no justification for that.
“Though we have no power to change government policy we have the 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 the government has the final say on it but we insist that NIPOST is the right agency to do that. For us, it is a selfish interest trying to deny NIPOST the right to collect the duty,’’ Pantami told New Telegraph.
In a recent publication by Nairametrics, workers of NIPOST protested at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja, over the collection of stamp duty. This was due to the decision of the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, that the proceeds of the duty should be warehoused by FIRS since it’s a tax-related responsibility.