Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Abiodun Aina, on Monday, revealed why his predecessor Tunde Fowler got edged out of the agency after his first tenure.
Aina revealed this at the handover ceremony on Monday after President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Muhammad M. Nami as the new FIRS chairman
According to the acting chairman, Fowler brought a lot of changes into revenue generation at both the federal level and the state level. And he was able to bump up the government revenue from N3tr to over N5tr as at 2018.
“You have done a lot within the space of four years. You have transformed FIRS. You have modernised it. There has been a lot of innovations and under you, we have achieved great heights,’ he said in his speech.
Fowlers best on revenue generation might not just be enough, and that probably explains why he got the boot.
Months ago, Buhari’s Chief of Staff Aba Kyari complained about variance n the budget collection under Fowler.
“We 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,’ Kyari queried Fowlwer in a July 26 memo.
“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 to explain the reasons for the poor collections.
“You are kindly invited to respond by 19 August 2019.”
His response to the query was not known. But any speculated his problem began from there.
He too knows it.
“But like you also mentioned in your speech, change is usually resisted,’ said Aina.
“And so you stepped on toes. That is normal. Leadership is not a popularity contest. And I’m sure you know that very well.”
Although Fowler wrote the SGF to seek reappointment, he couldn’t find such favour from the presidency in spite of wht Aina described as scintillating performance.
Among other measures Fowler also introduced so many programmes that repositioned FIRS: Tax Amnesty Programme implemented VAIDS, increased the number of taxpayers nationwide to over 20 million in a space of four years, placed lien on the account of taxpayers to ensure that each capable corporate taxpayers pay heir dues.
Fowler was embroiled in a N90bn fraud allegation levelled by PDP agent Tony Frank who said Fowler gave V.P Osinbajo the fund to finance APC campaign.