For the umpteenth time, just like a cat with nine lives, the issue of stamp duty has been brought into focus again as the National Assembly through its upper chamber is set with new legislation to reform the administration of stamp duty collection in the country.
Just like in the past, the focus of this reform is on the government agency at the forefront in the clamour for the constitutional right to collecting stamp duties on behalf of the government. This agency is no other than the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST via The Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment) Bill, 2021.
The recently introduced bill on the floor of the hallowed chambers if passed into law will empower NIPOST to remit stamp duty to the Federal Government of Nigeria and make the postal service more efficient in its service delivery.
What this new bill can do to the entire administration will include putting to bed the protracted back and forth between NIPOST and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS. This settlement would be brokered by a clear stand of the law currently processed as a bill on the floor of the National assembly.
Comments from stakeholders
Recall that Dr. Ismail Adewusi, the Post Master General of the Federation had always held a position that current constitutional provisions on matters that hinged on stamp duty collection were obsolete, lacking a reflection of current realities. This position doubled as his view on the ongoing bill poised at reformation.
Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate in a recent comment is hopeful that the current amendment effort will restructure the agency in such a way it lives up to the expectation of service delivery and shore up the nation’s revenue-generating capacity.
The potential of the Nigerian Postal Service Act (Repeal and Establishment Bill, 2021) to decentralize the agency into a global perspective was brought to the fore in a recent plenary session on the Senate’s floor by Senator Oluremi Tinubu from Lagos who doubles as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communication. By the Senator’s submission, the bill will provide for a national code system in compliance with global standards.
Going back memory lane
The Finance Act 2019 contained an amendment to the Stamp Duty Act, which conferred on the FIRS the exclusive right to collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government.
NIPOST had immediately complained that the Finance Act was negatively affecting its finances as stamp
duty formed a significant part of its earnings