By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: In a bid to boost the revenue profile of the federal government and to support the government’s transformation of the digital economy space, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami Tuesday, unveiled the revenue stamp of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST).
The revenue stamps, which come in a single denomination of N50 and will be made available in post offices nationwide, is expected to be used by the general public for the authentication and validation of documents and denotation of duties or fees.
Speaking at the unveiling in Abuja, the Minister noted that, “The N50 denomination revenue stamp we are about to launch today, will be used in denoting documents, authenticating business transactions, authenticating agreements, and authenticating any lawful transaction that may take place between Institutions.”
He further said that, “From now henceforth, all these transactions are based on the provision of the Finance Act 2020 and we must ensure that as good citizens we comply with this in all our activities. Whatever is generated is for Nigeria and Nigerians and will contribute in making the country a better place for all.
“I urge all other Institutions of Government to comply with the law as ignorance is not an excuse”, he added.
While speaking on the misunderstanding between NIPOST and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over stamp duty collection, he said that, “it is a thing of the past which has been resolved with the passage of the Amended Finance Act 2020. We work together for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“The success of FIRS is our success and our success is theirs too. So, we serve the same country and whatever each Institutions generate is for the country and not for that Institution, so we have a cordial relationship with all of them”, he explained.
Furthermore, Dr. Pantami stated that there are plans to unbundle NIPOST into four companies— NIPOST Property and Development Company; NIPOST Transport and Logistics Company; NIPOST Courier Company; and the NIPOST Microfinance Bank— so as to transform the Post and generate money.
The Minister who promised to do his best to ensure that a lot is achieved before the end of the year, also urged the NIPOST staff to change the image of NIPOST, upgrade the post to world class standard, and increase revenue for government, so as to justify the increase of staff benefits.
In her remarks, the Chairman, NIPOST Governing Board, Barr. Maimuna Yaya Abubakar, noted that the official unveiling of NIPOST Revenue Stamp represents a quantum leap in the reengineering efforts of the NIPOST aimed not only at repositioning the Agency for optimal performance and customer satisfaction but stimulating it strategically to punch above its weight category in effectively contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
She assured the NIPOST Management of the support of the Governing Board, adding that together they will continue to work assiduously in developing and deploying innovative tools in order to stay ahead of the curve; and keep on pushing boundaries and breaking new grounds until NIPOST becomes a world class organization.
According to her, “I strongly believe that NIPOST can thrive on revenue it can generate, considering the massive network, infrastructure and opportunities around it. With sustained support by the Government and by dint of hard work and perseverance on our part, I believe it is just a matter of time before we make NIPOST deliver on its full potential.
“We are thankful that the dust has finally settled with the signing into Law of the Amended Finance Act, 2020 by President Buhari. NIPOST is back to its legal position of administration of Stamps: as the exclusive producer and custodian of stamps in Nigeria.
“Today’s event is a testament that NIPOST is finally free from all forms of constraints (legal and fictional) to execute its mandate without let. The management therefore has the Board’s unalloyed support to be more innovative going forward”, she noted.
Earlier in his welcome addres, the Postmaster-General, Dr. Ismail Adebayo Adewusi said that about 25 million stamps will be rolled out in the first instance and will be exhausted in two weeks and production will continue.
He further noted that the minimum postage stamp as at today is N50 and if in the future the minimum postage stamp is increased, that will be the value that will become immediately operational for the purposes of denoting duties and transactions.
While fielding questions from Journalists, he said, “We are subsidizing the users as at now and so, I will not rule out the possibility that in the future the price will be increased based on the exigency of today. You will agree with me that rate of inflation, exchange rate and everything is going up. So, N50 is actually not such a huge amount of money.
“Usually stamps are in various denominations and it depends on the value of transaction that you are doing. So, we will have N50, N100, N250, N500 and up to N1,000; that is the truth. The stamp that has been launched today is ready for sale”, he said.
Recall that the passage of the Amended Finance Act, 2020 restored the role of Nigerian Postal Service in the administration of Stamp Duty, and the provisions of the Act empowered and gave NIPOST the statutory recognition that stamps produced by Nigerian Postal Service be used for the denotation of payments of duties and fees.