James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives is currently considering financial autonomy for Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to enable it cope with emerging realities, and operate on global standards.
At a public hearing organised by House Committee on Telecommunications, Chaired by Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi thursday, stakeholders commended the move by the National Assembly to reposition the moribund agency.
The Speaker of the House, Hon Yakubu Dogara, said he believed efforts to reposition the NIPOST will to boost its revenue generation by upgrading its operations to latest standards will yield desired results.
The hearing had considered and debated bills for an Act to repeal Nigerian Postal Service and establish the Nigeria Postal Commission to make comprehensive provisions for the development and regulation of postal services; as well as a bill for an Act to amend the Stamp Duties Act, to ensure compliance with current realities and for related matters.
Representing the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, the Post Master General of NIPOST, Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi observed that most of the laws regulating the agency are obsolete, adding that there are five core challenging issues which necessitated that the extant Act be amended.
He also said the provision of adhesive postage/electronic stamps by NIPOST does not infringe on the powers of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) or a State Inland Revenue Service to access, collect and receipt the payment of stamp duty tax.
The minister pointed out that the punishment contained in the law are no longer relevant, adding, â€œof what use is a N200 fine or a N200 fine when the cost of prosecuting the offender is on the average N100,000.â€
Shittu said that amendment such as the internet and the Point of Sale (POS)) machine have been captured as receipting medium, whose electronically generated receipts are to be denoted, adding that financial penalties have been introduced for a first offender, a second offender and a third or subsequent offender.
He said: â€œThe proposed amendments if approved and implemented will unlock the revenue potential of the stamping protocol to generate huge revenue for the benefits of all the tiers of government.
â€œThe suggested amendments will also end the interagency rivalry, which is militating against the effective implementation of the stamping protocol. The amendments are recommended for the consideration and approval in the overall interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€