The presidency has queried the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Mr. Babatunde Fowler. Fowler is seen in political circles as a pick of the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Bola Tinubu.
Meanwhile, the turn of events was contained in a leaked correspondence between the Service and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
In the letter titled “Budgeted FIRS Collections and Actual Collections,” Kyari sought to understand the reason behind differentials in figures presented to government.
He wrote: “we observed significant variance between the budgeted collections and actual collections for each of the tax items for each of the years 2015 to 2018.
“Furthermore, we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014.”
The Chief of staff requested that the Fowler responds by Monday. This is coming at a time that the Service had boasted about surpassing offer targets, increase of non-oil sector contribution to national revenue among others.
In April, nine top management staff of the agency came under Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigation. They were accused of duty tour allowance fraud. Although the chairman was not indicted at the time.
Earlier 349 members of staff of the agency who are said to be related to politically exposed persons and top shots of the ruling party were engaged in secret recruitment exercise that cast doubts in the integrity of FIRS management integrity.
It is left to be seen what explanations will be offered, however, there’s a steady erosion often the character of the top management of FIRS.
Politically, should the revenue Chief being pushed out, his departure may reverberate in political circles as permutations continue to unfold towards 2023 elections. Fowler was Tinubu’s Chief revue officer when the later was governor of Lagos State.