…explains why FIRS Boss, Babatunde Fowler Was Queried
The Presidency says it appears Nigeria 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.
The presidency spoke while explaining why the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler was issued a query by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Monday, the presidency said that contrary to the insinuation by some media outlets, Fowler was not being investigated.
According to him, Fowler was however queried to find out why the gap between the revenue projected to be realised by the FIRS and what actually came into the coffers of the government.
The statement said government projects are based on revenue projections and therefore any shortfall must be adequately explained adding that since the inception of the Buhari Administration, the tax net of the country had been widened from 10 million to 20 million.
He said: “Following reports making the rounds in some media outlets, it is necessary to state categorically that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is not under any investigation.
“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.
“Taking a cue from today’s (Monday) presentation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-Designate, Federal Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries , which dwelt on an ‘Overview of the Policies , Programmes and Project Audit Committee,’ a body he chaired, projected revenue of government falls behind recurrent expenditure even without having factored in capital expenditure.
“Consequently, it would appear that 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.
“Anyone conversant with Federal Executive Council deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today, and therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.
“It is noteworthy and highly commendable that under this administration, the number of taxable adults has increased from 10 million to 20 million with concerted efforts still on-going to bring a lot more into the tax net”.