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 FIRS takeover of stamp duty will cost NIPOST 15,000 jobs — Labour

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 FIRS takeover of stamp duty will cost NIPOST 15,000— Labour

By Victor Young

Organised Labour in the nation’s communications industry, has raised the alarm that Nigeria Postal Service, NIPOST, is at risk of losing no fewer than 15,000 workers into the unemployment market over the alleged recent takeover of its primary duty to produce and issue stamp by the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS.

Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies, SSASCGOC, who raised the alarm in Abuja on Thursday, issued a 21-day strike notice to the Federal Government to put things right or members would down tools and begin a nationwide strike.

At a briefing, General Secretary of SSASCGOC, Ayo Olorunfemi, in said: “The FIRS on June 30, against any known law, produced and launched its owned brand of an adhesive stamp, thereby hijacking and taking over the function of NIPOST.

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“It is illegal for FIRS to produce and issue stamps to denote duties when it can be procured from NIPOST. If this is allowed to go on, due to the usurpation of the main duty of NIPOST, it will lead to about 15,000 job loss.

“As a union, we will not accept this as there is no known law that gave empowers FIRS to produce stamps. Everybody knows the situation in the country today.

“I insist, NIPOST will lose nothing less than 15,000 workers and when you look at that, the multiplier effect on the economy and the saturation of the unemployment market, you will know that it will be a catastrophe waiting to happen and we have said we will not allow that to happen.

“To this end, we are calling on the Federal Government to facilitate an urgent meeting between NIPOST, FIRS, SSASCGOC and other stakeholders in order to arrive at an amicable resolution.

“Failure to do this within 21 days from today Thursday, July 9, the Union shall have no other option than to direct all its members in NIPOST to withdraw their services.

“It is very painful that while other nations are protecting and developing their postal services and making maximum use of the services for advancement, Nigeria is busy doing things that will kill its own.

“It should be noted that both NIPOST and Federal Inland Revenue Services are Statutory Corporations for which this Union has Jurisdiction to organise their staff.

“Therefore, our position must always be balanced according to the laws of the land. That is why we are insisting that both organisations must develop a synergy that will enhance higher productivity in the area of stamp matter.

“We recognise the power conferred on FIRS to collect stamp duties just as that of the NIPOST power to produce and issue stamps. These must be acknowledged and recognised in implementing the Finance Act.

“It should be noted that stamp is a product of NIPOST as given to it by law. The Finance Act did not give any power to FIRS to produce stamps. In other words, to utilize stamp for duties FIRS must get it from NIPOST.

“As we speak many Nigerians have stopped purchasing adhesive stamps from NIPOST. This, if not challenged and nip in the bud, will ultimately lead to the collapse of NIPOST and the staff will have to lose their jobs. We will not allow this to happen.”

Vanguard

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