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FIRS to NIPOST: We’ll recover Stamp Duties you collected

Every dime of Stamp Duty illegally collected by the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) from 2016 till date will be collected, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has declared in series of tweets yesterday. The tax collecting agency, in addition, warned that 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. FIRS’ tweet was a response to series of tweets by the Chairman of NIPOST, Maimuna Abubakar, claiming that the FIRS had stolen the mandate of the postal agency by printing stamp. She called on Nigerians to save the agency from FIRS. Abubakar had tweeted: “I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless nights because of NIPOST. We need the general public to come to our aid; FIRS stole our mandate.

FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us. What is happening; are we expected to keep quiet and let FIRS kill and bury NIPOST? “We need to get our mandate. NIPOST is the sole custodian of national stamps; another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land.” Responding to the allegation by NIPOST, FIRS Director, Corporate Communications, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, said FIRS remains the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties.

The Service said it is shocking to it that such a privileged young lady who happened to be appointed to high office would throw all caution to the wind to cast aspersions on reputable public institutions like the National Assembly and the FIRS, which she accused of stealing NIPOST idea. The FIRS, in a statement, said that the fund so far collected by NIPOST from 2016 to date would be recovered and remitted to the federation account in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to the recently inaugurated Interministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duties from 2016 till date. Ahmad said: “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 coordinated 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 government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types, including Stamp Duties.

“It is, therefore, shocking to us at the FIRS 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 the FIRS, which she accused of stealing NIPOST idea.

“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.” The FIRS and NIPOST have been at loggerheads over the collection of stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government. While the Stamp Duty Act 2004 mandated NIPOST to manage the stamp duty, the recent Finance Bill reposed the responsibility on FIRS.

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