OpinionViews

Facts vs fiction: Correcting wrongly told tales of FIRS budget

The Management of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) wishes to draw the attention of the taxpaying public and its staff to claims across the media that it is spending certain sums on uniforms, meals, miscellaneous, amongst other budget sub-heads. These reports are to be ignored as they are sensational and unfairly misleading.

One of these reports claim that the Service had delivered its budget estimates to the two chambers of the National Assembly. This is not true. Instead, the draft budget estimate was submitted only to the House Committee on Finance. Also, the claim that “the total budget of the FIRS stands at N228 billion” is blatantly untrue.

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Furthermore, staff of the FIRS do not wear uniforms. It should be obvious to everyone that the reference that has been made to the budget for uniforms is not only false but also a misrepresentation of the facts.

What has been referred to as Uniform is the Corporate Outfit (Dressing Allowance) enjoyed by all the staff. It is nothing short of deliberate mischief that the word “uniform” was used in place of the dressing allowance statutorily provided for the over 11,000 staff of the Service, in order to misinform the Nigerian public.

Similarly, the sum of N17.8 billion being bandied as an estimate for miscellaneous expenses is grossly false. Surely, the correct figure is N11.36 billion, which represents the estimate for key administrative expenses for the whole year that the Service proposed to the National Assembly, being an amount that would be incurred when approved, in respect of its over 500 operating offices and functions as well as for its 11,300 workforce.

For clarity, the estimated expenses are for medical costs for over 11,300 staff, publicity, adverts and taxpayer education, welfare packages and festivity allowance to staff, corporate outfit grant (dressing allowance to staff), honorarium and sitting allowance for staff/stakeholders, sporting activities, postage and courier services.

The public is therefore to note that the amount budgeted for the above-listed items represents merely 5.26 per cent of the total budget estimate for the year, 2022.

Rest assured, the FIRS will fully justify the estimates it has put forward in its budget proposal. The sums were duly and carefully provided after due needs assessment of the Service and beyond.

With these details of well-intentioned provisions in the budgetary estimates, which were put together by the relevant departments in the Service, it is crystal clear that the Management is conscientiously committed to quality service delivery and staff welfare. Therefore, Management will continue to do everything within the limits of available resources to motivate and buoy up the morale of the staff.

As a revenue-generating agency, the FIRS has an enormous task, especially with dwindling revenue from the oil-sector, to expand and harness the untapped tax-base of the country and mobilise revenue for the Federation, so that governments across the three tiers can deliver on their mandates to Nigerians.

The Management of the FIRS, therefore, frowns at uncharitable attempts to drag its well-wrought tax administration efforts into the murky waters of politics, as doing so will not serve any positive purpose.

  • Wojuola is SA/Media & Communication, to the Executive Chairman FIRS
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