The Presidency has dismissed reports that Babatunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is under probe.
Naija News reports that Fowler was queried in a letter by President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, dated August 8, 2019
This online news platform understands that the letter which was addressed to the FIRS Chairman asked him to explain reasons for ‘significant’ variances in budgeted collections and actual collections of tax in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The letter gave Fowler up till August 19 to respond to the query, this is two days after his tenure would have expired.
Fowler was expected to have handed over to the next most senior person in FIRS having been appointed for a renewable term of four years on August 18, 2015.
Reacting in a statement on Monday, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said the letter merely raises concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.
He 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”.