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FIRS alleges stamp duty funds diversion, clears air on responsibilities

By Olalekan Idris

The face-off between Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) over collection of stamp duty has intensified with the tax agency alleging that NIPOST diverted funds received for the purpose.

FIRS also debunked claims by NIPOST that it was unconstitutional for the agency to collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government.

The tax firm statement came hours after NIPOST chairman, Maimuna Abubakar, in a letter titled ‘That vexed NIPOST’, alleged that FIRS duties do not include the collection of stamp duty and that it was acting beyond its responsibilities.

Through a statement released on FIRS official social media handle by its Director of Communication and Liaison, Abdullahi Ahmad, the agency disclosed that NIPOST management allegedly began to raise an eyebrow after it insisted that all fees paid as stamp duty be remitted into government coffers.

FIRS, while describing the NIPOST statement as a disservice to the country, alleged that the postal agency had over the years operated an unapproved account where stamp duty fee was paid without due remittance to government.

According to the agency, FIRS was the sole agency of government charged with responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including stamp duties in the country.

“The 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.

Earlier, the NIPOST boss stated that FIRS encroached on the agency’s functions, saying, NIPOST is the sole custodians of national stamps, another agency printing and selling stamps is against the country’s law.

“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.

“I like to make this clear, NIPOST is the only agency charged with responsibility of producing adhesive stamps and revenue for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST. There is nowhere in FIRS act or stamp duty act where it’s so stated that FIRS can produce stamp or sale stamp”.

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