The Senate has sworn that the Nigeria Postal Services, NIPOST must be brought to life considering the fact it was once the most vibrant means of conventional communications. In a motion sponsored by Senator Gilbert Nnaji (PDP), Enugu East Senatorial district, detailing operations and development of postal services, he sought the Senate’s repeal of the bill for its advantages. “A bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Postal Service Act, to provide for the operations and development of postal services, the establishment of Nigeria Postal Commission and for related matters, 2017”, Nnaji submitted. In his contribution, Senator Atai Aidoko (APC), Kogi East Senatorial district expressed disappointment at the level of decay in NIPOST. He explained that across the world, postal services was still relevant. The lawmaker emphasised that the reform as envisaged would boost economic and social services in a manner that it will also provide security data for relevant security agencies.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, it’s shameful that when you go abroad and given a form to fill, you will be disappointed that Nigerians don’t know what zip code is”, he noted. While lending credence to the bill, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan said, he became more concerned that when the Committee visited NIPOST head office, he discovered that there was nothing left of the agency anymore. He suggested that the Senate should do all it can to revive it. In his ruling, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu stressed that NIPOST was still relevant despite the revolution of social media that tends to take away some of its services. He added that the reform would generate jobs for young Nigerians as well as its financial benefits, while it passed through second reading.
“I want to congratulate Nnaji for the bill, I think that NIPOST is still very relevant despite the advent of social media and more so that it will generate jobs and revenues,” Ekweremadu maintained. Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja, stopped the Nigerian Postal Services, NIPOST, from further collecting N50 on stamp duty in April. The court held that such revenue drive by NIPOST does not enjoy the backing of any extant law in the country including the Stamp Duties Act 2004. The court Judgement followed a suit the Nigerian bottling company, NBC, filed against NIPOST and a private firm, Kasmal International Services.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole who gave the verdict held that having carefully gone through the Stamp Duties Act 2004, he could not see where NIPOST was empowered by the law to impose stamp duty tax on the bottling company, banks and other establishments.
According to the Judge, whereas the Act recommended 2kobo stamp to be affixed on certain categories of documents, NIPOST, lacked the power to arbitrarily increase the amount to N50 without firstly securing an amendment of the Act through the National Assembly.
“A law is a law and has to be obeyed or implemented as it is. Section 89 of the Stamp Duties Act which recommended the use of adhesive 2 kobo stamp on certain categories of receipts and document is the law in force. “The NIPOST as a defendant in this suit acted unlawfully, illegally and ultra-vire by unilaterally increasing the 2 kobo stamp to N50 without any backup law and under the guise that 2 kobo stamps are no longer in circulation in Nigeria.
“Under section 89 of this Act, the NIPOST has no power to compel the plaintiff (NBC) to affix N50 stamp on its receipts and other documents. “By this, NIPOST has no business or authority in sending Kasmal International Services on an illegal errand to compel the plaintiff on the N50 stamp duty tax”.
Consequently, the court issued an order of injunction against the NIPOST and Kasmal International Services, stopping them from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating, coercing or disrupting the business operation of the plaintiff in the name of unlawful stamp duty tax until the extant laws are reviewed.