The elongated conversation about the eligible government agency to collect stamp duty is certainly not going away anytime soon. The back and forth between the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), rather than fizzling away, has been gathering momentum. It has also been a case of one claim to another counter-claim.

As a sign of a deteriorating relationship on the eligibility of stamp duty collection between the two agencies, The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, in a recent statement announced yet again that the federal government had restored to the NIPOST the responsibility to collect stamp duty in place of FIRS. It is important to note that this is not the first time such a revelation is coming out from the agency.

Just like in the past, as a swift response, the FIRS had responded by calling the report fake news. The argument for its refusal is that the Finance Act 2020 had made it the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties.

It is pertinent to ask if the acclaimed restoration will stand as this is not the first time NIPOST is coming out with such a statement.

NIPOST’s argument

“NIPOST has been recognised as a government agency with statutory and historical authority to be the producer of stamps and recognised for collection of stamp duties for validation of financial transactions in the country,”

FIRS’ argument

“This is fake news. The Finance Act 2020 had made the FIRS the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties.”

“NIPOST would henceforth produce the adhesive stamps required by FIRS to denote Stamp Duties in line with the Finance Act 2020),”

The counterclaim continues

In another rebuttal, NIPOST narrates that any amendment made to any Finance Act has nothing to do with the responsibility of NIPOST. It argued further by alleging FIRS for infringement with the selling of stamp duties instead of buying from FIRS.

Pantami’s words below,

“Despite amendment to the Finance Act, it has not affected the responsibility of NIPOST.”

“FIRS is now selling stamps instead of buying from us, it did not only steal our stamps but also our ideas …our documents, patent and sneaked everything into the finance bill and tactically removed the name of NIPOST.”

Pantami’s position on this issue at the recent launch of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary Commemorative Postage Stamps held at the Digital Economy Complex, Abuja is entirely not without the hindsight of the over ₦463.9bn projected as revenue from stamp duties every year.

Recall that

At stake is over  ₦463.9bn projected revenue from stamp duties every year. It is not beyond reach to conjecture that the control of these massive funds is the reason why the two agencies have been at loggerheads in a disgraceful public spat for about two years now.

The FIRS collected ₦18 billion stamp duties in 2019 and ₦66 billion in the first half of 2020. Taxmobile.Online presents these figures according to the Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.

On Friday, March 12th, 2021, NIPOST in a viral report had reclaimed the collection of stamp duty charges from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This was according to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  Dr. Isa Pantami.

Earlier in March 2021, Taxmobile.Online commented on the report that the Attorney General of the Federation had expressed interest to legally mediate between the two agencies to find a common ground.

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