Group Calls For Removal Of FIRS Boss, Nami

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By Yemi Itodo Citizens Awareness Against Corruption and Social Vices Initiative (CAACASVI), has called for the removal of Mohammed Nami, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). CAASASVI, led by its Executive Director, Mr Olumuyiwa Onilede, made the call on Tuesday in Kaduna, during a news conference. According to the group, Nami lacked the integrity and competence to head a sensitive and all important organisation such as the FIRS. Onilede also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to expedite action on a petition it wrote to the anti-graft body in order to bring the FIRS boss and ''his collaborators to book. ''A typical developing economy collects just 15 per cent of GDP in taxes, compared with the 40 per cent collected by a typical advanced economy. ''The ability to collect taxes is central to a country’s capacity to finance social services such as health and education, critical infrastructure, such as electricity, roads and other public amenities. ""Considering the vast needs of populous and developing countries like Nigeria, this low level of tax collection is putting economic development at risk,'' Onilede noted. According to him, CAASASVI's position is not in any way different from President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement during budget presentation that the problem with Nigeria's economy is not because of the country' debt profile, but it is due to low revenue generation. ''This was also corroborated by the Minister of Finance during her press briefing on the 2022 budget. ''If the President and the Minister has confirmed that the country has problem with revenue generation, then it is pertinent to beam the searchlight on activities of our revenue generating agencies,'' he stated. Onilede, however, noted that the current activities of FIRS did not suggest that things would get better in the area of revenue generation. ''There is glaring proof that the Executive Chairman of FIRS lacks the competence and integrity to move the agency forward. ''This is because Mr Mohammed Nami has never worked in any government formation, and so he finds it very difficult to manage the huge human resources in the FIRS. ''This mismanagement of personnel has brought about industrial disharmony between management and members of staff, and and of course resulting in low productivity. According to the group, Namis’ stint at the helm of affairs in FIRS is characterised by contract racketeering and contract price inflation. ''Award of contract for the production of souvenir for sensitisation and awareness for the sum of N1.7 billion, contrary to the extant Federal Government circular to that effect. ''Meanwhile there was no sensitisation, awareness or engagement with taxpayers as claimed by FIRS management,'' it said. He also listed many other irregularities such as the award of contract for the purchase of Zinox Laptops at the exorbitant rate of N900,000 per unit. ''Award of contract for the purchase of Toyota Hiace Buses at the rate of N14 million per unit, meanwhile old vehicles were purchased and refurbished. ''Award of contract for document printing for the sum of N3billion within the period the management claimed to be transiting to office document automation. ''Award of contract for the purchase of Toyota Prado Jeep for the sum of N52million,'' he alleged. Onilede further listed many other shady contracts which he claimed were awarded by Nami. If the President must achieve his aim of leaving a legacy in the area of infrastructure development, then he must prioritise tax as a major source of economic drive. ''That can only be achieved if the nations revenue generating agencies key into the Presidents’ plan and policies. ''Having the likes of Mr Mohammed Nami at the helm of affairs of FIRS will leave the administration with the same revenue burden. ''On this basis, we are calling on President Buhari to wield the big stick by removing Nami as the chairman of FIRS for a competent hand to come in and clear the mess already created in the agency,'' Onilede said.

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