Why we got N5bn from FIRS – Presidential Tax Committee

The Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, Taiwo Oyedele, has explained why his team received N5 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Oyedele’s explanation was contained in a statement titled, ‘Clarification regarding the money provided by the FIRS to the Joint Tax Board to fund the activities of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee,’ shared on his X social media handle on Friday, September 29.

He said his committee was aware of a recent report regarding the funds transferred by the FIRS to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) for his team.

“All the expenses of the Committee are properly documented and available for audit. We collect receipts for fuel, stationeries, and virtually every Naira that we spend to the extent possible. Over N4 billion of the said funds transferred by the FIRS to the JTB for the Committee’s work is yet to be spent and very much intact in the JTB account.”

Oyedele revelation came following the statement made by the immediate past executive chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, on his X handle to counter a report by TheCable, alleging that he approved N11 billion “suspicious” payments after his exit from office.

President Bola Tinubu sacked Nami and replaced him with Zacch Adedeji, who currently leads the organisation in an acting capacity.

In a series of tweets on September 28, Nami faulted the report, explaining that the FIRS indeed paid N5 billion to the Joint Tax Board to fund the activities of the presidential tax committee two months before he left office.

“For clarity, the items listed in the Cable Newspaper Report were part of the N16 billion outstanding commitments contained in our handover note,” he explained.

According to the report, Nami, after his disengagement, approved N6 billion as payments to several contractors and consultants and moved N5 billion to the account of the JTB.

Further shedding light on the N5 billion received, Oyedele assured that the Committee would be responsive, prudent and accountable with every Naira of public funds entrusted to his members.

He hinted that the Committee’s budget includes provisions for a national “Data for Tax” project, which he said the JTB had been championing for over two years.

“The project was presented to the National Economic Council in 2022 and was meant to be funded by the Federal Government and the 36 states. However, it stalled due to lack of funds. Given the importance of the project to the effective reform of our tax system, it was included in the Committee’s budget.

“Other expenses included in the Committee’s budget, which has the approval of the National Assembly, include setting up of offices for the Committee in Lagos and Abuja, payment of salaries for the full-time staff engaged by the Committee, travels and other logistics for over 70 members representing more than 40 institutions and stakeholder groups mapped to six different sub-committees, more than 30 secretariat personnel and over 40 students across the country,” Oyedele stated.

He added that the Committee’s budget covered planned stakeholder engagements with various sectors and interest groups, international engagements and the understudy of some leading tax regimes around the world for one year, being the lifespan of the Committee.

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