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Leaked memo reveals FIRS lied about revenue generation figures, Fowler summoned




While the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) recently claimed that it had broken Nigeria’s revenue generation record, with N5.3 trillion generated in 2018, a leaked memo said to have originated from the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, has shown that on the contrary, revenue generation has been on the decline.

In the said memo dated 8 August, signed by Mr. Kyari and addressed to the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Kyari noted that “We have observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.

“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.

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“Furthermore, we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014. Accordingly, you are kindly invited to explain the reasons for the poor collections.
“You are kindly invited to respond by 19 August 2019.”

FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Fowler had few months ago, announced that the service generated N5.3 trillion in 2028, which was highest since 2012, when it generated N5.07 trillion.

Fowler, had said the agency was steadily growing revenue generation, a surprise announcement considering that the economy had been on the decline.

“While we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down,” Fowler had announced.

“In 2016 we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion. Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.”

“The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. Non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%.

“This represents the government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.”

The leaked memo

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