Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mallam Ali Pantami, yesterday, insisted that it is the duty of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to collect Stamp Duty for the Federal government instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), saying it is selfish and an injustice trying to deny NIPOST of collecting the duty
He argued that Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST the way Customs Duty is collected by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Pantami, who stated this in Abuja, regretted that the FIRS has been working to be the agency collecting the duty, adding that he had presented the case to the President that Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST and that there is no harm if FIRS supports them and they work harmoniously but that collection of the duty should not be done by FIRS or the Ministry of Finance because there is no justification for that.
He said, “The crisis started before my appointment as the Minister and I was not briefed on time about the real situation, but when I heard about it, I intervened and I presented the case to the President that Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST. There’s no harm if FIRS supports them and they work harmoniously, but that FIRS or the Ministry of Finance should not do a collection of the duty because there is no justification for that. Stamp Duty should be collected by NIPOST the way Customs duty is collected by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
“We insist, but we have no power to change, but we have the power to challenge injustice. And as far as I am concerned, this is one of the many injustices that should be challenged. We insist that Stamp duty should be collected by NIPOST and it is an injustice if NIPOST is denied the opportunity. We have advised the government on this and the government has the final say on it, but we insist that NIPOST is the right agency to do that.”
He stressed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has not given any approval to the FIRS to be collecting the revenue, adding that the issue has never been discussed at the FEC meeting.
He noted that the ministry is being repositioned to align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal government and the global best practices adding that the ministry has developed a draft of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, which captured a digital Nigeria that would ensure that there will be no manual operations in the next 10 years in order to have a digital Nigeria in place.
Pantami observed that the Federal government wants to embark on massive training of Nigerians on digital literacy and skills and wants to ensure that at least 95 per cent of Nigerians are digital literate within the next 10 years.