Stamp Duty: FIRS Attacks NIPOST Chairperson On Twitter

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has described the remarks by Maimuna Abubakar, board chairman of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), as a disservice to the country.

Abubakar, in tweets on Sunday, alleged that the FIRS stole the agency’s mandate, stamps and ideas.

The FIRS, in a recently released circular, said it now has a portal for automated stamp duty collection where all stamp duty paying citizens, government agencies, institutions, and private organisations should log into and pay stamp duties.

But NIPOST opposed the FIRS, saying only the postal agency is empowered to print, mint, produce, retail, and provide adhesive postage stamps.

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Reacting to Abubakar’s outburst in a statement on Tuesday, Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS director of communication and liaison, said the FIRS is not violating any law by collecting stamp duty.

He said there is a difference between stamp duty and postage stamp, adding that, “FIRS is the sole agency of got charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties”.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.”

Ahmad also described as shocking the claims by the NIPOST board chair.

He asked the public to disregard Abubakar’s statement because it is false.

“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,” he said.

“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.”