Former Chairman, FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru
By James Emejo
Former Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru yesterday affirmed her decision to step down from office, adding that her retirement was not premature, "having served two terms as stipulated in the Act establishing the FIRS."
There have been speculations in some quarters that the presidency might have asked her to quit before the expiration of her tenure.
But addressing Journalists in Abuja last night, Omoigui-Okauru said she has legitimately completed the two terms as prescribed by the FIRS Act adding that her tenure as Executive Chairman ought to terminate by April 9, 2012 after the Senate confirmed her on April 10, 2008.
Omoigui-Okauru has had an impressive career in the service, having helped to institute critical reforms in the tax collection system as well as growing tax revenue base from less than N1.2 trillion when she came to office in 2004 to over N4.6 trillion in 2011.
She tied her success to the immense support she received from President Goodluck Jonathan, the Judiciary, Senate and staff of the FIRS "who all worked with a spirit of collaboration."
"The real tax collector is Mr. President (Jonathan) because any success or credit for my performance comes from Mr. President," she said.
The former FIRS Chairman added that the country’s total revenue base could witness further growth in the next four years if the Integrated Tax Administration System and the Tax Payer Identification Number system are implemented in the near future.
She said there were over 20 convictions over tax fraud during eight years of her career, adding that the FIRS under her tenure had largely been driven by "strategic plans and a culture of performance" and praised the board and staff for the entire success.
Omoigui-Okauru studied Accountancy at the University of Lagos and graduated in 1983 with First Class Honours. She later obtained a Master of Science degree in Management Science from the Imperial College, University of London in 1986, as a Commonwealth scholar.
She has worked with Akintola Williams & Co, and Accenture.
The FIRS under her has been significantly repositioned to achieve its main objectives.
She has been commended for giving vision, planning and strategic direction to the service. Other remarkable event during tenure was the formulation of a new tax policy; tax legislation and regulations; effective tax administration; domestic and international collaboration with critical revenue agencies among others.
Co-ordinating Director, Special Services of the FIRS, Mr. Kabiru Mashi will assume duties as Executive Chairman of the Service in acting capacity.