Take a look at FIRS budget to understand Nigeria’s predicament, by Godwin Etakibuebu

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Take a look at FIRS budget to understand Nigeria’s predicament, by Godwin Etakibuebu

Below is the content of the 2022 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); an agency of the federal government responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for all taxes and other revenues accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria or any of its agencies, presented to the Nigerian National Assembly for approval.

Before going into reading the details of this budget proposal, we need to know that the FIRS do not create revenue or wealth. It brings nothing-nothing whatsoever, to the table of the Nigerian peoples’ wealth table.

Its duty and operations are limited only to the following: Collects Value Added Tax, Company Income Tax, Stamp duty, Technology levy, Personal Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Nigeria Customs Service Import VAT, Electronic Money transfer and Gas income. These are what it calculates, collect and remit to the Federal Government’s account. It does not create wealth at all. This is one fact that must be known.

Now, we can embark on scrutinizing the details of the budget, and we should, by all prudential instincts, take recognition of the expenditures, as being presented by this Federal Government Department; a Department that does not generate nor create wealth.

FIRS to spend N2.8 billion on uniforms, N550 million on meals, Board members to earn N370 million sitting allowance

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has earmarked the sum of N2.8 billion for “uniforms and clothing” for the year 2022.

The tax body has also budgeted about N550m for refreshments and N200million for sporting activities. The FIRS, which is one of the highest revenue-generating government bodies, set aside N262.5 million for security votes while N17.8 billion would be spent on “miscellaneous” expenses.

The details are included in the 2022 budget proposal the agency submitted separately to the National Assembly.

Already, there are concerns over the cost of governance and the percentage of the annual budget that goes into recurrent expenditure.

In the 2022 budget proposal the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), presented to the joint section of the National Assembly on 7 October a whopping N4.69 trillion out of the total N16.39 trillion budget was appropriated for personnel costs and pensions (inclusive of N617.72 billion for the 63 GOEs). Also, the overhead cost would gulp N792.39 billion (inclusive of N451.0 billion for the 63 GOEs).

Owing to the nation’s scarce resources and low revenue, the Federal Government would spend N3.61 trillion on debt servicing while it would borrow an additional N6.25 trillion from domestic and external sources to fund the deficit in the budget.

Meanwhile, the total budget of the FIRS stands at N228 billion, surpassing the 2022 budget of the National Assembly (N134 billion) and the judiciary (N120 billion).

The FIRS budget also surpasses the current 2021 budgets of Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.

In its 2022 budget proposal, the tax body earmarked N2.5 billion for the purchase of land, N3 billion for office furniture, N1.5 billion for photocopying machines, N2.04 billion for computers and N500 million for the construction of sports facilities. The agency set aside N1billion for generator fuel and N250 million for maintenance while a separate N550 million was set aside for purchasing more generators.

The FIRS will spend N6 billion on its new headquarters and N2 billion on the purchase of vehicles. It budgeted about N1.3 billion for cleaning and fumigation of its offices nationwide while N1.4 billion will be spent on general maintenance services.

The FIRS budgeted about N1.3 billion for office stationery and computer consumables while N3 billion will be spent on printing non-security documents. The agency will spend N1.4 billion on electricity charges, N460million on telephone charges and N1.3 billion on security services. The FIRS will spend N7.9 billion on donations and N200 million as contributions to international organisations.

The agency earmarked N800 million for legal services, N1.04 billion on bank charges, N9.5 billion on welfare packages; N1.1 billion on staff retreat and N2.9 billion on repairs.

The first shocking item confronting us in this budget proposal obviously must be the sum of N2.8 billion for “uniforms and clothing” for the year 2022. The “uniforms and clothing” being mentioned here is strictly “drivers’ uniform” talking of uniforms made with Khaki materials, and we are not talking of those designers’ khaki made up of Comrade Aliyu Adams Oshiomhole’s fame (I am not too sure if the Comrade still wears khaki these days), but just every poor man’s Khaki in the Nigerian market square.

Hold your breath if you think the cost is too high, even for heaven’s sponsorship. In the year 2019, the same FIRS budgeted One Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (160,000,000) for 850 drivers’ uniforms, bringing the cost of each driver uniform to N188, 235, 29. Can you beat that? And that was in 2019. Enough look on drivers’ uniforms as we must look at other items.

Board members shall be earning N370million sitting allowance for the incoming year, N550 million for refreshments, N200 million for sporting activities, set aside N262.5 million for security votes while N17.8 billion would be spent on “miscellaneous” expenses.

Other items budgeted for by this Tax-Collector Agency in its 2022 proposal; include N2.5 billion for the purchase of land, N3 billion for office furniture, N1.5billion for photocopying machines, N2.04 billion for computers and N500million for the construction of sports facilities.

The agency set aside N1 billion for generator fuel and N250 million for maintenance (of same we may want to assume) while a separate N550 million was set aside for purchasing more generators.

After marking out N1 billion for generator fuel and N250 million for maintenance of same it set aside again another N550 million for purchasing more generators.

Above is the sad tale of the Nigerian State. It is the same story through all the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Parastatals, and even the Presidency.

IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE COUNTRY CALLED NIGERIA?

Source of Information: Punch Newspaper of 17 October 2021

Godwin Etakibuebu, a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos and can be reached via Phone: +234-906-887-0014 (SMS only).

Take a look at FIRS budget to understand Nigeria’s predicament, by Godwin Etakibuebu

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