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Fear, uncertainty at FIRS over Chairman’s N17trn target in 2020

Mr. Muhammed Nami, Executive Chairman, FIRS

Isola Moses

An attempt to insignificantly improve on the revenue generation performance of his predecessor in office, a cloud of fear and uncertainty purportedly now hangs in the air at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in Nigeria, as Mr. Muhammed Nami, the new Executive Chairman of FIRS, is reported to have set a N17trillion revenue target for 2020.

ConsumerConnect recalls that The Presidency had declined to renew the term of office of Mr. Tunde Fowler, the immediate past Executive Chairman of the Service, over inability to speed up revenue generation drive, and its alleged attendant declining revenues to the government’s coffers.

Agency report says Nami, therefore, has hinted at 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.

The Executive Chairman was reported to have wondered why revenue generation declined despite the rise in the Service workforce, engagement of consultants, rise in inflation and exchange rates.

Records, source said, indicated 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, signed by Nami showed that 8,265 workers collected N5.07 trillion, surpassing target by N1.3 trillion in 2011, while 9,448 staff collected N5 trillion in 2019.

The Executive Chairman 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 (Christmas and New Year) so that you would resume refreshed and better prepared to serve,” he said.

The workers, he further stated, should take advantage of the current staff-friendly environment 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,” Nami declared.

The fresh directive to achieve the N17trillion in 2020, nonetheless, some FIRS staff reportedly said the target was a tall order because majority of tax evaders were those romancing with the government.

They also said the economy was still at recovering from the 2016 recession and as such slowed down economic activities.

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