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Communication Minister, Pantami Writes Buhari, Seeks End To Stamp Duty Crisis

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has assured stakeholders that the crisis between the Nigerian Postal Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service over a collection of stamp duties would soon be resolved.

He said he had written the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and engaged some top government officials on the way out.

Top officials of NIPOST and FIRS have been engaging one another in a war of words, especially on social media, claiming exclusive rights to the collection of stamp duties.

But Pantami, while addressing journalists at a press conference to mark his one year in office on Thursday evening in Abuja, said a solution was in sight.

He said, “I have engaged the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning twice on the matter.

“I have also written to our boss, President Muhammadu Buhari. I am also engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor.

“I can assure you that the issue will be resolved officially soon.”

While answering a question, the minister said the planned privatization of the Nigeria Communication Satellite Company Limited had been suspended.

He said he had never been in support of the planned privatization, saying he prefers commercialization especially because of the security issues involved.

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Enumerating some of his ministry’s achievements in the last one year, Pantami said he had been able to achieve a downward review of the Right of Way which had been hindering broadband penetration for 13 years.

He said his engagement with state governors had led to a reduction to the agreed maximum of N145/liner meter by some states while other states completely waved the charges.

For the Federal Government, he said no ROW charge would be collected between now and December.

This, he said, was the government’s palliative to corporate organizations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The implementation of the new ROW charges by these states will not only reduce the cost of services but also improve their economy and ensure the quality of service,” the minister said.

He added that the issue of unregistered and semi-registered SIM cards was resolved through his policy on SIM card registration and usage.

While recalling that 2.2million unregistered SIM cards were deactivated on November 14, 2019, Pantami said the step supported the nation’s security agencies by ensuring that SIM cards were not used for criminal activities.

He said the government was however evaluating the situation.

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