FIRS: Fowler Replies Buhari’s Query.
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Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, has replied the query issued him by the presidency.
Noting that actual tax collection since the beginning of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was lower than the 2012-2014 period under former President Goodluck Jonathan, Fowler explained that FIRS under him had performed better regarding specific non-oil tax types, such as VAT and CIT.
Premium Times quoted him as associating the general lower collection since 2015 to oil market crisis which has seen a fall in commodity price compared to the period under Mr Jonathan, and recession “which slowed down economic activities.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has insisted Fowler was not under probe.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement 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.
“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”.