Policy

Postage Stamps and Stamp Duty- The FIRS and NIPOST Twitter Debacle

Social media used to be a place for the masses to voice their opinions about orders from the government, and general goings-on in the society. More recently, however, it has become a place for government agencies and officials to air their laundry; asking for aids from individuals, publishing incorrect reports and showing each other down in a game of who speaks the most grammar and who has the greater influence.

Nigerians love a good show and have collated the receipts of all the online wars between officials and government agencies:

https://twitter.com/dondekojo/status/1290571299782352896?s=20

The latest topic is the right to ownership of postage stamps and stamp duty, which have a word in common, but not much else.

It began when Chairperson of the NIPOST board, Meimuna Abubakar went on twitter to lament that the FIRS took business away from them- using the hashtag #Justicefornipost- and asked the general public to come to their aid. She accused the Tax body of not only stealing their stamps but also stealing their ideas.

The FIRS replied with a thread; calling her tweet indecorous, and in need of correction. And thus began a long twitter thread

 

The two agencies deal with transactions, and at first glance, there wouldn’t seem to be any clash in their functions. But the events of today have left a lot of people wondering if these government agencies know their job description.

The chairman of the FIRS, Muhammad Nami in an earlier interview clarified the difference between the postage stamp and stamp duty:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the postage stamp is a signage that is affixed on a letter, visa, and in some cases agreements, and it is sold by NIPOST.
“The money that accrues from the sales of postage stamp is also remitted to the Federal Government’s Single Treasury Account (TSA). The sale of postage stamp by NIPOST is the practice across the world.
“On the other hand, stamp duty relates to matters executed between a company and an individual, group or body of individuals. It is a tax on legal documents, deeds of agreements and contracts, electronic transfers, and electronic receipts on transactions in the region of N10,000 and above or transfers in like sum from one current account to another current account.
“The position of the law on stamp duty as at today is that it is the responsibility of the FIRS to collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government. This is the tenable position in the light of available evidence”.

It would be recalled that a few weeks back, NIPOST was accused of stunting the growth of small and medium enterprises and the courier service companies with their reviewed licensing policy, until the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami ordered the suspension of its implementation.

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