The National Assembly Joint Committee has raised concern over Federal Inland Revenue Service’s (FIRS) 2019 projected estimate of non-oil revenue tax collection of N146.54 billion.
The co-chairman of the committee, John Enoh, and other members of the committee raised the concern at FIRS’s budget defence in Abuja on Monday.
The committee sought to know why the 2018 approved estimate was N153.85 billion, while the 2019 projected cost stood at N146.54, amounting to 4.75 per cent decrease.
On personnel cost, the committee asked why the service was proposing 14.6 per cent increase in number of staff from 7, 854 in 2018 to 9000 staff in 2019.It equally demanded explanation for the “proposed N160 million meant to sew drivers’ uniforms, N825 million for refreshment and security vote of N250 million among others.”
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler while presenting the budget proposal, noted that the proposed increase in staff strength was due to recruitment of staff scheduled in 2019.
He further explained that N160 million was earmarked to sew uniforms for the 850 drivers of the service as part of effort to make them fit properly into the structure.
That means each driver’s uniform will cost over N188,000.Also, Mr Fowler said the amount earmarked for security vote was meant to attend to some security issues, particularly those not receipted for.
“The achievement of 2019 budget will be driven by increase oil and non-oil revenue tax collection.
“The service in realisation of this responsibility and challenges of doing manual collection will continue to implement automated tax collection for the critical sectors of the economy notably telecommunications, airlines and financial institutions.
“The deployment of these platforms is at no cost to the service and the consultants will only be rewarded on increased revenue generation.There will be increased enforcement activities nationwide to bring more tax payers into the tax net and increase compliance level,’’ Mr Fowler said.