President Muhammadu Buhari has queried the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler over poor revenue collections from 2015 to 2018.
The President specifically raised concerns over the revenue collections during the period that were seen to be far lower than those collected between 2012 and 2014.
The query dated August 8, 2019 was titled; “Re: Budgeted FIRS Collections and Actual Collections” and signed by Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President in which he invited Fowler to respond by August 19, 2019.
Kyari’s query to Fowler reads in part; “Your attached letter (FIRS/EC/CWP/0249/19/027 dated 26 July 2019) on the above subject matter, refers.
“We observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.
“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.
“Furthermore, we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014.
“Accordingly, you are kindly to explain the reasons for the poor collections. You are kindly invited to respond by 19 August 2019.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that Fowler may be invited to interview officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the matter and some employment racketeering, financial misdemeanor and abuse of office in the saddle as Nigeria’s tax collection chief.
Fowler was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 18, 2015 as the FIRS Chairman on a four-year renewable tenure.
On his watch in the last three years from 2016 to 2018, the FIRS reportedly collected over N12.6 trillion in taxes.
The reported figures indicated that N3.2 trillion came in as collected revenue in 2015 while it went up to N3,307 trillion in 2016; N4,027 trillion in 2017; and N5,320 trillion in 2018.
The 2018 collection remains the highest amount of revenue generated into the Federal Government’s coffers in any particular year.
Fowler had in January announced that FIRS’ target for the year 2019 stood at N8 trillion