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Low Tax Remittances: Nigeria may soon face fiscal crisis – Presidency

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The Presidency on Monday warned that Nigeria may soon face fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to stop the negative trends in target setting and target realisation in tax revenue.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.

He said “Taking a cue from today’s presentation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-Designate, Federal Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries , which dwelt on an ‘Overview of the Policies , Programmes and Project Audit Committee,’ a body he chaired, projected revenue of government falls behind recurrent expenditure even without having factored in capital expenditure.

“Consequently, 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 realisation in tax revenue.

“Anyone conversant with Federal Executive Council deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today, and therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.” he said

He said that it was noteworthy and highly commendable that the number of taxable adults has increased from 10 million to 20 million under Buhari’s administration.

He said that concerted efforts are still on-going to bring a lot more into the tax net.

According to him, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is not under investigation.

A leaked letter on Sunday to Fowler, entitled “Re: Budgeted FIRS Collections and Actual Collections”, with reference number SH/COS/08/5/A/301, was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari.

The letter was a response to an initial report on tax collections the FIRS’ boss forwarded to the President earlier on July 26.

Keep Naira clean

The Presidency, in the letter, directed Fowler to give reasons for variances by providing a “comprehensive” “variance analysis” for each tax item from 2015 to 2018.

The letter also raised concerns over the collections for 2015 to 2017, stressing that they are “worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014.”
But in a statement on Monday, Shehu said “Following reports making the rounds in some media outlets, it is necessary to state categorically that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is not under any investigation.

“The letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on which the purported rumour of an investigation is based, merely raises concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.” he stated

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