Uche Usim, Abuja
Ahead of his plans to realize the 2020 revenue target of N8.5 trillion, the Executive Chairman of the newly constituted board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammadu Nami, has begun implementing a massive reorganisation blueprint that has seen the transfer of over 100 staff, cutting across various cadres, especially directors.
The move did not totally come as a surprise, however, to many because Nami, shortly after his inaugural speech on January 16, hinted of his plans to restructure the Service as encapsulated in his 13-point agenda.
The shake-up, it was gathered, was to move staff to meet fresh challenges, bring their creativity to bear, break new grounds and eventually eliminate redundancy occasioned by monotonous work pattern.
“I think it’s a normal process and procedure for a new boss to move staff around and put them where he feels they can function optimally once he studies the staff organogram. It is rare for a new boss to inherit and adopt the template his predecessor operated with, especially when he wants to up the ante and achieve higher targets.
“This is one agency that is self-assessing. If you’re doing well, the revenue figures are there to amplify that and if not, it also shows. The head is at liberty to cobble the agency the way he deems fit within the law to realize set objectives. Fowler did it. The one before him did it. It’s about assembling a team of like minds to achieve results. N8.5 trillion as revenue target is no minced meat. It’s a tall order in an economy like ours with all its challenges.
“To me, it should be expected. It is normal”, a senior staff told Daily Sun.
Part of the massive shake-up at the FIRS saw some directors move up the ladder, while one was relieved of his duties and a fresh one injected into the Service.
Daily Sun learnt that those affected include: Aishiekh Maidugu, Director, Planning Reporting and Statistics, now the Special Assistant, Special Duties, to the Executive Chairman; Femi Oluwaniyi, Director Debt Management, now Transition Lead, Domestic Taxes Group and the Coordinating Director, Compliance Enforcement Group, Cyriacus Ekechi, who became the Transition Lead Compliance Support Group.
Others are Kudu Mohammed, Assistant Director, Project Management Office (e-Services), now Special Advisor to the Executive Chairman – a position said to have been occupied by the former Acting Chairman, Abiodun Aina, before he became Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group and Abdullahi Ismaila, Special Assistant Service and Communication to the FIRS Chairman.
A circular authored by the Director Human Capital Management Department, Victor Ekundayo, dated December 31, 2019, said the five along with the executive chairman will constitute the Interim Management Team.
Others are Victor Ekundayo of Human Capital Department, who moved to the Career and Skills Development Department; Innocent Ohagwa of the Special Tax Audit Lagos, who replaced Mr Ekundayo; Gbolaga Oshiga formerly of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, who moved to Revenue House Abuja as Director Tax Audit; Mohammed Abubakar, formerly Coordinating Director, Tax Appeal Tribunal who is now Secretary, Joint Tax Board, JTB.
The former Secretary JTB, Oseni Elamah, a former Chairman, Edo State Internal Revenue Service, and a key JTB figure in pre and post-Tunde Fowler years got no alternative posting.
Sanni Dahiru, an Assistant Director at the State Coordinator’s Office, in charge of Kogi, FCT and Nasarawa, replaced Mohammed Abubakar. From Kano, Pam Davou, a Director, and State Coordinator in charge of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States, was asked to come in as Director, Collections at the Headquarters. Najim Ajila, the former Director, Audit replaced Mr Oluwaniyi in Debt Collection, while Joel Ogohi, a Deputy Director, replaced Mr Oshiga as State Coordinator, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu States.
Others moved include: David Ogedemgbe, Head Large Tax Audit, who became State Coordinator, Lagos Island; Shetimma, Tamadi, a Deputy Director from the office of the State Coordinator, Benue Kaduna and Niger, became State Coordinator for the states; Lucky Obodoekeh Chukwu, Deputy Director, Head Oil and Gas ( Downstream) became Head, Large Tax Audit; Umar Aminu Galadanchi of Large Tax Office, Kano became the State Coordinator Kano, Jigawa and Katsina States; Muazu Garba, Assistant Director, Training School, became State Coordinator, Oil and Gas (Downstream); Etsu Mohammmed Madami, State Coordinator, Kebbi Sokoto and Zamfara moved to Borno, Plateau, Bauchi and Yobe in the same position; Peter Alfred, Assistant Director, Large Tax Office in Lagos, is now Head Special Tax Audit Lagos; Yerima Silas, Assistant Director, Large Tax Office Lagos ( Non-Oil) moved to Kano to head the Large Tax Audit Office.
Four other managers were also moved. Adebayo Kayode, Director Investigations, was moved to Special Investigations Department, while Idris Ndanusa, a fresh Director was hired and posted to Internal Affairs Department, Chukwuemeka Obiagwu, formerly of Enforcement Department is now in the Enforcement Unit, Office of the Executive Chairman, Ozavize Winfrul, a Deputy Director of the Compliance unit in the Chairman’s office moves to Compliance Research, Simon Kato a Deputy Director and Special Assistant, Office of the Chairman moved to Domestic Taxes Group, Group, Odekunle John Oluwatoyin, an Assistant Director and former Chief of Staff to the former Executive Chairman was transferred to Enforcement Unit in the Office of the Transition Lead Enforcement and Compliance Group, Maupatin Olatundun, formerly the Special Adviser to the Executive Chairman was moved to Tax Audit Department; Olufemi Akinfala, formerly Head, Research and Development Department was moved to Planning Research and Statistics Department; Oyebanji Matthew, Deputy Director Special Tax Audit, Lagos, became Tax Controller Oil and Gas, Lagos, while Muazu Garba, an Assistant Director, Tax Controller Oil and Gas (Downstream) was moved to Tax Investigation Department.
Orebanjo Adebola an Assistant Director at Relationship Management Unit, Lagos was moved to Large Tax Office, Non-Oil, and Aniko Emmanuel was also moved to Large Tax Oil and Gas.
Two other Assistant Directors: Oluwa Ameenat Badmus and Oluola Adedayo were moved from Relationship Management Unit to State Coordinator’s office, while most staff of the Relationship Management Unit were not spared.
On January 16, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while inaugurating the new board of FIRS reminded the Chairman and his team that being members of a country’s tax administration comes with huge responsibilities, especially meeting set targets to justify their appointments.
She challenged the new board to churn out new ideas and strategies that will improve the country’s tax administration.
Responding, the new Chairman of the FIRS board, Mr Muhammed Nami, in his inaugural speech assured the Finance Minister that he would bring his experience and expertise to bear in his new portfolio, even as he called on other members of the board to give him the necessary support needed to meet set targets.
Nami announced the 13-point priority areas the new board will address in his first 100 days in office, including capacity building for the FIRS staff, building new enforcement strategies, restructuring and reposting audit functions, review of structures and corporate strategic retreats.
Others are overhauling critical infrastructure, repositioning of the large and medium taxpayers offices, among others.