Journalism of Courage

Nigerian Presidency says FIRS boss, Fowler, not being investigated

The Nigerian Presidency clarifies Monday that Federal Inland Revenue Service chair, Babatunde Fowler is not being investigated, following a query issue by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, asking Fowler to explain revenue shortfalls in three year period.

Spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari on Garba Shehu, confirmed in a signed statement that Fowler is being asked to explain the tax agency’s failure to meet its collection targets since 2015, because “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 realization in tax revenue.”

Garba’s statement indicates that that presidency is worried that “projected revenue of government  falls behind recurrent expenditure even without having factored in capital expenditure” and therefore seeks ways to increase revenue.

It will be recalled that Nigeria proposed to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by up to 50 per cent (from current 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent), a move analysts say could spike inflationary pressure in the economy.

Additionally, Fowler in June announced that the tax agency is putting together a plan seeking to direct banks in Nigeria to impose VAT on online transactions for purchase of goods and services.

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