Ndubuisi Francis and James Emejo in Abuja
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, has expressed the agency’s commitment to achieving the N8.5 trillion revenue target for the year.
Addressing members of staff at a retreat of Tax Operations Group monday in Abuja, Nami urged them to take up the challenge and justify the confidence the country had reposed in the service particularly at this “critical time when virtually all the other sources of revenue for the government are being challenged especially by COVID-19 pandemic, the downward slide in the price of oil at the international market for as low as $30 per barrel against $57 benchmark used for the budget.”
He said several measures had been taken since assuming office to boost the welfare of staff as well as encourage them to give their best to improve its revenue profile, adding: “We shall not relent in providing the right environment for you to succeed.”
According to him, “When the federal government set the N8.5 trillion target, it must have realised that we are equal to the task. As the hub of the operations of the service, you are therefore expected to deliver the bulk of the target while the other groups support you.”
The FIRS boss said he had taken a number of measures to facilitate staff delivery on the job by reverting certain authorisations hitherto domiciled at headquarters namely utilisation of credit notes, operational letters, issuance of TCCs among others.
To this end, he stressed that examination of account has been restored while proper segmentation in tax administration consistent with global best practices was reinstated.
He said: “I have also initiated a phased programme of connecting with the staff at the lowest rung of the service in order to feel their pulse and intervene in matters inhibiting their performance.”
Among other things, he said there is an ongoing realignment of staff programme which is intended to ensure that people are rightly placed so as to achieve the best output possible.
He also said the 2019 promotion exercise earlier suspended would soon be held with a reviewed set of criteria seen as more friendly and designed to make as many staff as possible advance to the next level.
Nami said vacancy positions have also been expanded, explaining that soon after the 2019 exercise that of the year 2020 would also hold.
“With all these initiatives, I will expect nothing short of 100 per cent delivery of your target by the year-end,” he said.
He, however, challenged the group to come up with “well thought out plans and workable strategies from this retreat. It is for this reason that you are brought together to ‘jaw-jaw’ for two days. I also want you to be mindful of the fact that the task ahead of us this year is enormous.”
Meanwhile, the Domestic Tax Operation Group (DTOG) of the FIRS has assured the management and board of the agency that it would work to enable the revenue agency to achieve its N8.5 trillion revenue target for 2020.
The TOG made the commitment in a communiqué it issued at the end of its two-day 2020 Tax Operation Group Retreat, in Abuja.
FIRS had posted a N3.7 trillion shortfall out of the N8.8 trillion projected for 2019 fiscal year.
According to the communiqué, “The participants expressed their resolve to remain committed and continue to work hard towards realising the N8.5 trillion revenue target set for the service. TOG unanimously agreed that with the new management’s determination to empower and motivate the staff, the target would not only be achieved but be surpassed.”