Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Scores of protesting workers of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) thursday stormed the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance,
Budget and National Planning in Abuja demanding the abolition of the plan to cede the collection of stamp duty to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The workers, who barricaded the ministry’s main gate at the Central Area of Abuja, staged their protest while the breakdown of the 2020 budget was going at the Main Auditorium of the ministry.
Led by Ayo Olorunfemi under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations of Government Owned Companies, the protesting workers, who were armed with placards bearing various inscriptions, demanded to have audience with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
Some participants, including top government officials who had attended the public presentation/breakdown of the 2020 budget, could not leave the premises of the ministry as the protesters insisted that they wanted the minister to address their concerns.
According to them, the current amendment of the Stamp Duty Act by the National Assembly was done to allow the FIRS to collect stamp duty on electronic transactions, adding that the standard global practice puts such responsibility on agencies like NIPOST.
The minister, who promptly responded to the workers’ insistence to address them in company of the Minister of Information and Culture,
Lai Mohammed, asked their leader to express their grievances.
Olorunfemi, who spoke on behalf of others, said their demand was for the minister to take their protest to the federal government so that the collection of stamp duty will remain the duty of NIPOST, adding that the workers had already projected N500 billion revenue for the government from that source.
Responding, the minister asked the workers to document their claims and forward them to her, adding that the concern of the government was revenue generation.
She noted that the government was targeting N400 billion from stamp duty in 2020.