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NIPOST faults FIRS claim on illegal stamp duty account

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The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has faulted the claim by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) that NIPOST operated an illegal stamp duty account.

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The FIRS’s director of Communication and Liaison recently while responding to tweets by Chairperson of the Board of NIPOST, Mrs Maimuna Abubakar, said that the agency is more than ever “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 a statement on Sunday in Abuja, General Manager, Corporate Communications, NIPOST, Franklin Alao described FIRS claims as false.

Alao explained that the account in question was opened by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in consultation with the office of Accountant General of the Federation, in the name of NIPOST Stamp Duties Collection Account when CBN gave instruction to Deposit Money Banks (DMB) to commence the deduction of N50 stamp duties from bank customers accounts.

He stated that the account belongs to the Nigeran Government, adding that NIPOST does not have access to whatsoever monies lodged into the account, as such the question of illegality and misappropriation does not arise.

Alao insisted that under the extant laws of Nigeria, NIPOST Act 2004 provides and vest solely in NIPOST the power to print adhesive postage stamps, which is the instrument for denoting documents and other transaction instruments in compliance with the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act.

“Historically, the Post in Nigeria, just like in the comity of nations, has at different times produced adhesive postage stamps and revenue stamps for the Federal Government,” Alao said.

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“It is to this end that NIPOST seeks the proper implementation of the Finance Act. NIPOST is therefore taken aback when FIRS took to the tweeter to call out the Chairman, NIPOST Board, Barrister Maimuna Yaya Abubakar, who only tried to bring the attention of the Service and public that NIPOST would be emasculated if the Act is not properly implemented.”

“More so when there was a meeting between FIRS and NIPOST in July 2013 in the office of the Executive Chairman of FIRS and resolution reached that “NIPOST is statutory duty-bound to provide the stamps to be used by FIRS at both federal and state levels. We wish to reassure members of the public that NIPOST as a responsible government institution has always operated within the ambit of the law. We, therefore, urge the general public to disregard the statement credited to the Director, Communication and Liaison, FIRS on the issue,” he added.

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The two government agencies had in recent times engaged each other in media war over whose responsibility it is to collect the Stamp Duty charge for the government.

Maimuna Abubakar, in her tweets a few days ago, accused the National Assembly and FIRS of stealing NIPOST idea. Abubakar said NIPOST is saddled with the responsibility of printing and providing postage stamps for payment of postage tariff and payment of stamp duties by the decree No. 18 of 1987

However, the FIRS Director of Communication and Liaison argued that the FIRS is the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties.

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