Babatunde Fowler in the News Again!

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Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler,

Some things happen that prompt a thousand and one wishes and hopes. For example, one wishes to God that governance in Nigeria were not limited to a meagre four-year cycle; wishes to God that it was until one man died and another took his place. What if nobody takes his place, anyway? If such wishes would only become real, what is happening in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) with relations to Babatunde Fowler wouldn’t be happening.

It is no secret that the incumbent FIRS boss, Mohammad Nami, is not the greatest fan of his predecessor, Babatunde Fowler. Since Nami ascended the FIRS chairmanship stool, he has inadvertently shot arrows against the administration of Fowler, pointing out cracks and crevices that are taking lots of lots of brainpower and resources to fix.

Not too long ago, Nami was reported as saying that the tax agency almost nearly fell apart during the previous administrative powers. In fact, says he, the new powers have had to erect new masts and see new sails, or “build the entire structure of the service again from scratch” – those were the reported words.

Recall that Fowler’s administration had ended somewhat abruptly (that is, without the expected renewal) in December of 2019. Records show that the primary charge against his chieftaincy was that the volume of tax collected over the years had gradually dwindled and dwindled, with no apparent cause for such diminishing returns. In other words, there were “significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections”; therefore, Fowler had to go.

In defence, it might be recalled that Fowler alluded the dwindling tax collection to oil matters – crises and whatnot, and was always firmly pointing out that there were still areas (especially VAT and CIT) where the observed law of diminishing returns did not apply).

Thus, as the months go by and more faults are found with Fowler’s management, it is imperative to hold the thought that nobody loves a tax collector, especially one out of favour with the Powers.