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Fight for Stamp Duty collection gets messier between two ministers

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The official fight for the soul of the apparently irrelevant Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) over who controls collection of Stamp Duty for the Federal Government took a different dimension weekend as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, renewed quest for NIPOST to continue instead Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Addressing media executives in Abuja over the weekend, Dr Pantami disclosed that he had written to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, opposing the plan to remove NIPOST from the collection of the duty.

Business Hilights recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in 2016, directed money deposit banks through a circular to deduct N50 stamp duty on every electronic transfer with a value of N1, 000 and above.

NIPOST stampSince then, the FIRS had been contending that it had the responsibility to collect all duties, and finally got the House of Representatives to insert the responsibility in a proposed amendment to the Stamp Duty Act which is now prevailing.

In her defence, Mrs. Ahmed insisted that FIRS is clearly backed by law to collect stamp duty even as Dr. Pantami already had a pending petition at the table of President Muhammadu Buhari against the new Act cedeing collection of stamp duty from NIPOST to the FIRS.

Pantami argued that it would be unjust to transfer stamp duty collection from the NIPOST, and dismissed reports that the Federal Government had concluded that FIRS should henceforth be the collector.

Minister of Finance, Budget and national Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed

Fact checks by our correspondent on the raging controversy revealed that as it is now, ‘collection of stamp duty was listed under Schedule 3 of the FIRS Act as one of the taxes collected by the organisation.’

Besides, additional fact showed that even though the matter had been an age-long controversy, statuesque had been that whereas FIRS collected the contractual value of the stamp, the business of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) was to sell the stamps.

However, as public finance stakeholders awaits how President Buhari will resolve the matter without contravening an Act of the National Assembly, Dr Pantami also disclosed to journalists that fresh plan for the transformation of NIPOST with regard to undertaking a total restructuring and transformation of NIPOST.

He noted that “We will also commercialise some activities of the organisation by registering few companies to ensure the renovation and commercialisation of dilapidated NIPOST structure all over the country starting with NIPOST facilities in major cities.”

The briefing was attended by chief executive officers and management staff of the FMoCDE and its agencies, including Engr. Ubale Maska, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Technical Services, who represented the EVC of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta. Also present at the briefing were, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management; Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited; Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) and Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone Limited.

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