Workers of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) Thursday stormed the National Assembly, protesting the bill empowering the Federal Inland revenue Service (FIRS) to collect stamp duty.
At least 9, 000 workers on direct employment of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) and million others on indirect employment may be thrown into the labour market if the alteration of the amended bill empowering FIRS to collect the stamp duty is signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The amended bill, Blueprint gathered, has been passed by the Senate but still hanging in the House of Representatives.
NIPOST has the core mandate to collect stamp duty after which five per cent of what is collected is used for the development of infrastructure and motivation of staff across the states of the federation.
Addressing journalists at the gate of the National Assembly, the General Secretary of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Comrade Ayo Olorunfemi said the workers were at National Assembly to demand for urgent amendment to return collection of stamp duty back to NIPOST.
According to him, “it is not longer an attempt but now clear that the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) are ready to take over the responsibility of the Nigeria Postal Service by influencing the House of Representatives to insert that they should be responsible for the collection of stamp duty.
“Once this is done, NIPOST is finished and the staff are gone. There is no source of revenue and therefore the financial inclusion programme of this government will go into extinction. It’s only NIPOST that has federal presence in all the villages across Nigeria.”
Comrade Olorunfemi said the problem started when in line with digital economy of the federal government, NIPOST sponsored a bill to migrate from manual to digital collection of stamp duty.
He said from the analysis, about N500 million would be collected from the first year with electronic collection of stamp duty, adding that in subsequent years, the amount would run into trillions.
“The implication now is that once they succeed in NIPOST the next place would be NPA they would kill the entire institutions in Nigeria, simply because they are tax collectors. There is different between tax collectors and other revenue generation,” he said.
Responding, acting spokesman of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki said the Senate would ensure all the issues raised by workers were addressed.
He said though the bill has been passed by the Senate and awaiting concurrence in House of Representatives, the President of the Senate had spoken with the Postmaster General of NIPOST and all has been addressed.