Union kicks against privatisation of
NIGCOMSAT •As SSASCGOC gets new exco
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—INDICATIONS emerged weekend of crisis brewing between the federal government and labour union over who has the responsibility to collect stamp duties charge.
The Finance Act which was recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, had given the responsibility of collecting stamp duties charges to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, instead of the Nigeria Postal Service, NIPOST, that before now performed the function.
The alleged stripping of NIPOST of the responsibility to collect stamp duties charges has not gone down well with Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies, SSASCGOC, an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, that has viewed the development as a usurpation of its statutory duty by another agency of government.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, on the sidelines of the SSASCGOC elections, the union’s immediate past National President, Mohammad Yunusa, said the federal government has already been dragged to court over the matter.
He said: ”The problem we have that is connected to the Federal Government directly is about the Finance Act. The Finance Act has given the primary functions of NIPOST, which is one of our branches, to FIRS and we have challenged government on this matter even to the court that, that Finance Act must be reversed.
‘You can’t take the statutory function of NIPOST and give to another agency in the disguise of Finance Act, we can’t accept it.
”Is there any organization by law that is allowed to produce and sell stamps in Nigeria apart from NIPOST? That’s what they are trying to do but it is not acceptable to us.”
Yunusa, who is the National Treasurer of the TUC, vowed that his union would do everything possible in its rights to ensure the moves by the government to privatise the Nigerian Communications Satellites were not achieved.
He argued that the agency would go into extinction immediately after its privatisation.
”The Federal Government is trying to interfere in the Nigerian Communications Satellites (NigComSat). Although, to a great extent, we have settled that matter but they have not entirely removed their hands.
”Government is thinking of privatising that organisation with the excuse that they are not generating enough revenue. But we are saying No!
”Once you privatise that organisation, especially with insecurity in Nigeria, all manners of bandits and insurgents will take over that place because the people you’re privatising to, only God knows what they would do with that enterprise after you have privatised it to them.
”To some extent, Government has listened to us, but we can still see some signs that they have not removed their hands entirely,” he said.
Meanwhile the union has elected new national officers to pilot its affairs.
After a keenly contested elections, Alakija Kayode Surajudeen, emerged as the new President General, while Suleman Aminu was elected the deputy President.
Other officers elected include, Benjamin Olaka 1st Vice President, Francisca Abiodun Adedayo, 2nd Vice President, Mukthar Adikwu, National Treasurer, Samuel Ajakaye, Internal Auditor, Ogechi Jacintha James, National Public Relations Officer, and three Trustees, Ajayi Lateef, Yewande and Jandubril Isah