The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) is at war with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over stamp duty collection.

FIRS recently announced that it is the authorized agency to collect stamp duties on rent, online financial transactions and other dutiable instruments as provided under the Stamp Duties Act, CAP S8, LFN 2004 and the Finance Act of 2019 (as amended).

This hasn’t gone down well with NIPOST, whose attempt to charge delivery and logistics firms an extra amount in license fees, was scuppered by the supervising minister after an uproar from Nigeria’s social media users.

Maimuna Abubakar who is the Board Chairman of NIPOST, says FIRS is stealing her agency’s mandate.

She adds that she’s been having sleepless nights as FIRS ‘encroaches’ into her company’s playing field.

“I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless nights because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate,” Abubakar tweeted.

“FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us #justicefornipost. What is happening, are we expected to keep quiet and let FIRS kill and bury NIPOST? We need to get our mandate back #justicefornipost.

“NIPOST are the sole custodians of national stamps, another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land #justicefornipost.

FIRS Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami. [Twitter/@MMNami_]
FIRS Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami. [Twitter/@MMNami_]

“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 #justicefornipost.

“Did you know that NIPOST had generated over 60b in NIPOST CBN account for the Federal Government? #justicefornipost," she added.

FIRS' stance

FIRS had maintained that: “Section 4(1) of the Stamp Duties Act provides that the FIRS shall be the only competent authority to impose, charge and collect duties upon instruments.

“It is necessary to state that postage stamp is administered by NIPOST for the purposes of delivery of items and documents. It does not denote duty and therefore not a substitute for the FIRS adhesive stamp which is produced for the sole purpose of stamp duty payment.

“Section 5(2) of the Stamp Duties Act provides that stamp duty may be denoted by an adhesive stamp.”

Inter-agency rivalries

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has been ransacking the land for other sources of revenue to fund a N10 trillion budget, due to the crash in the price of crude oil in the global market.

FIRS collected a total of N20 billion in stamp duty from Money Deposit Banks (MDBs) between January and June of 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari has had to put up with inter agency squabbling throughout his reign [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]
President Muhammadu Buhari has had to put up with inter agency squabbling throughout his reign [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

Inter-agency rivalry has become a recurring theme with the Buhari administration.

There have been public squabbles between the DSS (Department of State Security) and EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), NiDCOM (Nigerians in Diaspora Commission) and the ministry of communications, the ministry of power and NBET (Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company), the ministry of power and TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria); and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Niger Delta ministry.