Fowler Left Behind N38 Billion Debt In FIRS — Nami

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, has revealed that his predecessor, Babatunde Fowler, left behind a debt of N38 billion.

Nami said this in Abuja on Monday when he spoke with newsmen.

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Nami, who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 9, 2019, also told newsmen that some “big men” do not pay taxes in Nigeria, adding that he had just personally concluded the investigation of one of such persons in Lagos State.

Nami said of his predecessor, whose appointment was not renewed by Buhari and the investigation into non payment of taxes and remittance of Value Added Tax by some companies: “We actually met a lot of debt: N20 billion and what we have prioritised is paying them in instalments.

“And as it is today, we’ve gone past re-paying about 50 per cent of that debt.

“That was what we saw officially.

“Unofficially, we met a debt of about N18 billion, which was borrowed from our Special Projects Account.

“Today, we’ve refunded about N11 billion to that account….

“There are big men in this country that are not paying, evading taxes.

“We’ve concluded one investigation in Lagos.

“I was in Lagos for one week and we discovered that there are service providers, let me not be specific, who work for some of our taxpayers, but they collect Valued Added Tax and do not remit.

“There are people that are so big in this country but assessments have been raised, in billions of naira and sent to them (to remit) to us.

“We’ve attached the invoice we saw in such organisations.

“I said just give us the money.

“They know they can’t come near us because we don’t tolerate such things.”

Nami also said in 10 months, the FIRS had collected N4.178 trillion in taxes, which represents 98 per cent of prorated revenue target of N4.230 for the period.

He said for 2020, revenue target for FIRS was put at N5.776 trillion, adding that but for the tax palliative granted to small businesses during the period, the Service would have fully met and probably surpassed its target.

He disclosed some of the innovations, which the service embarked upon in the last one year since he was appointed, to include deploying adequate information and communication technological tools, segmenting taxpayers into micro and small, medium and large as well as working closely with stakeholders such as tax agents, Federal Ministry of Finance and National Assembly.

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