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FIRS boss not under investigation – presidency

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Speaking at the just concluded 2019, Nigeria Tax Outlook Stakeholders Event was the Executive Chairman, FIRS Mr. Tunde Fowler. Photo/Twitter/ng_tax101


The presidency Monday said Babatunde Fowler the boss of Federal Inland Revenue Service – the agency responsible for assessing and collecting taxes – is not under any investigation.

“It is necessary to state categorically that the Chair of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler,is not under any investigation,” the presidency said in a statement.

It said the “letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on which the purported rumour of an investigation is based, merely raises concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.”

In the letter stamp-dated August 8, Kyari said the presidency “observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.”

Kyari therefore “queried” Fowler over worsening tax collection since 2015.

In 2015, FIRS set N4.7 trillion target but was only able to make N3.7 trillion in the actual collection. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the target collections were N4.2 trillion, N4.8 trillion and N6.7 trillion but the actual collections were N3.3 trillion, N4.0 trillion and N5.3 trillion, respectively.

Worried by the variances, the presidency asked Fowler for an explanation.

“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018,” Kyari wrote.

The presidency in its Monday statement said it only demands answers from the FIRS boss because “the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realisation in tax revenue.”

Analysis of Nigeria’s tax statistics showed that before Fowler was appointed in 2015, the only year FIRS could not meet its collection target was 2006 since the year 2000.


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