Uche Usim, Abuja
A cloud of fear and uncertainty currently hangs in the air at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as the Executive Chairman, Mr Muhammed Nami, has set a revenue target of 2020, which must be realized to justify the removal of Mr Tunde Fowler over declining revenues as noted by the presidency.
To this end, Nami has hinted of a possible staff rationalisation exercise to weed out spent forces and have a goal-oriented staff ready to handle the plough and urgently erase the existing record of not meeting revenue target since 2012.
He wondered why revenue generation declined despite the rise in service workforce, the engagement of consultants, the rise in inflation and the exchange rates.
Records show that since 2012, the average collection per staff slumped from N718.2 million to N530 million in 2019.
A memo to each of the staff members dated December 23, 2019 personally signed by Nami indicated that while 8,265 workers collected N5.07 trillion, surpassing target by N1.3 trillion in 2011; 9,448 staff collected N5 trillion in 2019.
He said: “As a result of their uncommon commitment to duty, in 2012 especially, you were able to raise five trillion, seven billion Naira, even without active participation of consultants and with moderate inflation and exchange rates.
“I want to be positive that this impressive performance is achievable again.
“However, the table below shows the review of performance and workforce of the service from 2011 to 2019.
“It should be pondered upon during the holiday so that you would resume refreshed and better prepared to serve,” he said.
According to him, the workers should take advantage of the current staff-friendly environment now in place to reverse the obvious downward trend to ensure that the current target is not only achieved but also doubled before the end of 2020.
“No doubt the task is daunting but with dogged spirit, integrity, probity and accountability as well as the resolve not to negotiate with taxpayers and pocket the revenue due to the Federal Government, the current challenges can be surmounted and our ambitious target achieved or surpassed.”
“I commend you all for displaying this spirit of steadfastness, resilience, perseverance, and deftness in the discharge of your assigned responsibilities,” Nami said.
Some FIRS staff who confided in Sunday Sun said the target was a tall order because the majority of tax evaders were those romancing with the government.
They also said that the economy was still at recovering from the 2016 recession and as such slowed down economic activities.