FIRS, NIPOST Fight on Social Media Over Stamp Duties
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) have taken to the social media to trade harsh words at each other over the collection of duties.
The first salvo in the latest round of grievances was fired by the board chairman of NIPOST, Mrs Maimuna Abubukar, who wrote on Twitter that, “I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate.”
She alleged further that, “FIRS are (sic) now selling stamps instead of buying from us,” adding that, “FIRS did not only steal our stamps but also our ideas, what NIPOST had worked for since 2016, our documents, patent and sneaked everything into finance bill and tactically removed the name of NIPOST.”
Responding on Tuesday morning, the FIRS, through its Director of Communication and Liaison, Mr Abdullahi Ahmad, in a series of tweets, fired back, saying that “vexed NIPOST Tweet” by Mrs Abubakar was “unfortunate” because she has no distinction between stamp duty and postage stamp.
“Our attention was drawn to the tweet by Mrs Abubakar. 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 co-ordinated postal services at reasonable rates*” the FIRS wrote.
Mr Ahmad continued, “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 got charged with the responsibility of *assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties*
“It is, therefore, shocking to us 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 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, 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.”
In conclusion, the FIRS added, “We, therefore, call on right-thinking Nigerians to disregard that ill-advised tweet by Mrs Maimuna Abubakar and allied misinformation being disseminated by NIPOST in relation to Stamp Duties collection, which by law is the responsibility of the FIRS.”