As Nigeria seeks to expand its non-oil revenue base, the Federal Government has ordered the new Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammadu Nami, and the entire board to work hard and surpass the N8.5 trillion target set for 2020.
The order was handed down to Nami when he went to collect his appointment letter from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, in Abuja.
A statement from the Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman and Director, Communication and Servicom of the FIRS, Dr. Abdullahi Ismaila, quoted the SGF as saying that “the Federal Government needs all the money to enable Mr. President deliver on his mandate”.
He implored the FIRS boss “to be proactive in his tax collection drive,” adding that “the government’s funding gap was large, hence its resort to borrowing in recent times. The SGF, however, assured Nami that “the Federal Government was confident that the FIRS under his watch would meet and exceed the government’s revenue targets from taxation.”
He emphasised government’s efforts to wean the economy from over dependence on crude sales receipts, adding that plans were afoot to expand non-oil revenue base deepening tax collection, so that the government would no longer be under pressure to borrow to meet its needs.
The SGF frowned at the situation where the overhead cost of governance was much higher than capital expenditure.
Mustapha also had a word for the members of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) who, he alleged, collect three to four salaries per month, describing such as unacceptable.
He also toolbar swipe at them for their refusal to join government’s Integrated Personal Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
He, however, noted that the Buhari administration would sustain its cost-cutting measures in governance, leading with the directive that Federal Government officials, particularly Ministers, should reduce the number of aides who travel with them.
Recall that erstwhile Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, was queried by the presidency for discrepancies in generated and remitted revenue.
On assumption of office, Nami said he would prioritise building staff capacities for service delivery, noting that “when we make doing business easier for taxpayers, our collection target will be easy to achieve.”
Other priorities to be executed, he said, include “closing of all lien cases in order to build new enforcement strategies; determination of collection focused key performance Indicators and other key service delivery parameters; repositioning of collections, reporting and accounting; overhauling of critical ICT infrastructure which are cost effective for efficient service delivery.
Nami said he plans to restructure and reposition audit function; review structures for optimal performance which has commenced and would be unveiled at the FIRS Corporate Strategic Retreat; Corporate Strategic Retreat to define roles and target setting; capacity building on Finance Bill and other tax programmes; Review of TCC administration process which started with January TCC issuance programme.