Indications emerged on Sunday that the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, has queried the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr, Babatunde Fowler, over alleged discrepancies in tax collections from 2015 to 2018.
A letter dated August 8, 2019, and addressed to the FIRS chairman, which was signed by Kyari, asked Fowler to explain reasons for ‘significant’ variances in budgeted collections and actual collections of tax in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. In the concerned years, the actual amount collected as tax fell below the budgeted target. In 2015, actual collection was N3.7tn, while the budgeted target was N4.5tn. A similar shortfall occurred in 2016, when actual collection was N3.307tn, less than the N4.95tn budgeted target. Also, in 2017, the FIRS collected a total of N4.027tn, less than the set target of N4.89tn. In 2018, actual collection was N5.32tn, while the budgeted target was N6.7tn. Fowler was appointed chairman of the FIRS in August 2015, but his appointment was confirmed by the Senate in December of the same year. The query covers the period he has been in office. His tenure is expected to expire at the end of August, going by the date he was appointed, although there are also suggestions that the expiry date could be December, the month his appointment was confirmed.