In a proverbial note of the last stroke breaking the camel’s back, the Nigerian Postal Service Nipost Corporate, NIPOST may have finally reached the end of the road with claims of legitimacy to collecting stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

The end of the road to a controversy that has rocked both federal agencies was heralded by a legal stand held by the upper chambers of the National Assembly during a session yesterday Tuesday 8th, June 2021, pronouncing FIRS as the only statutory body enabled to collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government.

A point of clarity came at the proposal of the Nigerian Postal Service (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2021. This piece of legislation stated in full dose the statutory function of the postal service including strategic reforms but a missing aspect was granting it the powers to collect any tax on behalf of the Federal Government.

Provision of extant laws now clearer, restricting NIPOST to only postal operations in the country.

The law awaiting presidential accent did not mince words restricting the agency to only postal operations in the country. Even though the Bill unbundled the agency by creating a commission to regulate its affairs, Section 2 subsection 1-3 of the bill, specifically barred NIPOST from engaging in tax collection.

The Specifics

Section 2 subsection 1-3 of the bill reads,

“There is hereby established a body to be known as the Nigerian Postal Service (hereby designated as the Public Postal Operator) which (a) shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal…

“The Postal Operator shall be charged with the responsibility of providing Universal Postal Service in Nigeria.

“In carrying out its Universal Postal Service obligations, the provisions of any enactment, law, or regulation relating to the taxation of companies, agencies, or trusts funds shall not apply to the Public Postal Operator save for its obligation as a collecting agent of the government.”

Other areas covered by the piece of legislation

The senators while considering the bill ensured it was amended to give the Governing Board power to formulate policies and adopt strategies for the overall development of the postal sector.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman Senate Committee on Communication highlighted that amongst other reforms, the minimum qualifications for the appointment of the Postmaster-General were also clearly stated.

The Postal Service by its clause 10 which provides for Exclusive Powers of the Public Postal Operator, is amended to enable the Public Postal Operator to accredit digital or e-certificate as appropriate. Clause 8 on the other hand dealt with the Application of Pensions Act, amending it to align with the Pension Act.

Among other amendments made to the NIPOST Act, 2004, was an amendment to clause 15 which deals with National Postcode System and Technical Standards.

The clause was amended to enable the Public Postal Operator, subject to existing legislation, to enter into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or other similar arrangements to carry out any of its obligations.

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