The Nigerian Postal Service has sent a request for an amendment to the Finance Act 2019 to the National Assembly as it seeks to be empowered to earn revenue from the collection of stamp duty.
It was gathered that the postal service was seeking the inclusion of adhesive postage stamp as part of the definition of stamp in the Act.
The spokesperson for NIPOST, Frank Alao, confirmed this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday.
He said the amendment the organisation was pushing for was “the definition of the word stamp to include adhesive postage stamp and the amendment of Section 4.1 to replace the Federal Inland Revenue Service mentioned therein with Federal Government.”
NIPOST and the FIRS had been embroiled in a dispute since 2019 over which agency should collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government.
While the FIRS says it has the mandate to collect taxes, duties and fees, including stamp duty, imposed by the Federal Government, NIPOST argues that it has the statutory powers to print, mint, produce, retail and provide adhesive postage stamp for the use of Nigerians.
The postal agency said it had been empowered to collect stamp duty and would not give up its right.
Before the Finance Act 2019 came on stream, NIPOST had been the custodian of stamps and had been empowered by the Stamp Duty Act 2004 to collect stamp duty.
However, different shades of controversy have erupted since 2016 when the Central Bank of Nigeria directed banks to deduct N50 stamp duty on every electronic transfer with a value of at least N1,000.
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 complained that the recently signed Finance Act was negatively affecting its finances as stamp duty formed a significant part of its earnings.
The PostMaster General of the Federation, Adebayo Adewusi, recently said the removal of stamp duty as part of the collectible revenue of NIPOST was depleting the agency’s revenue.
Adewusi added that the Finance Act 2019 was hindering the revenue generation drive of the postal service and requested that the Senate Committee on Communications review the Finance Act and return the stamp duty collection to NIPOST.
“NIPOST is also banking on the assurances of the committees of the National Assembly for legislative assistance to ensure that the stamp duty reverts to NIPOST,” he said.
He added that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, were making efforts to achieve the reversal of the stamp duty.