Fowler admits shortfall in tax collection but says I’m not to blame
Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler in his response to a query by the Presidency admitted to shortfall in tax collection under his watch but says he is not to blame.
He confirmed that collected tax from 2012 to 2014 was N14,527.85 trillion as against the N12,656.30 trillion collected between 2016 and 2018.
He blames the drop on oil related tax which he said is not wholly under the control of FIRS, stressing that external factors outside of FIRS govern oil taxes.
Out of the N14,527.85 trillion collected between 2012 and 2014, N8,321.64 came from oil tax while none oil amounted to N6,206.22. However, during the period 2016 to 2018, oil related tax was N5,145.87 while non-oil collection was N7,510.42 trillion. This means that non-oil revenue grew by N1,304.20 under his watch.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has described as “false and untrue”, reports that Mr. Fowler is being investigated over poor performance.
Malam Garba Shehu. the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, the letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on which the purported rumour of an investigation is based, merely raised concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.
“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 (Monday)’s 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,’’ the statement said.