The Presidency has refuted insinuations that Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, is under investigation following a query letter sent to him by Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
Kyari had in the letter asked the FIRS boss to explain the reasons for the poor tax revenue collection from years 2015 to 2018.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, on Monday, he said it was necessary to make the clarification following reports in some media outlets that Fowler is being investigated.
The presidential spokesperson noted that the letter only raised concerns over negative run of the tax revenue collection.
“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,” Shehu stated.
“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’s (Monday) 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,” he said.