Economic recession caused low tax collection, Fowler replies Buhari’s query

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Tunde Fowler, has responded to the query issued him by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, regarding the low tax collection in the last three years he has held sway.

He agreed that actual tax collection since the beginning of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was lower than the 2012 to 2014 period under former President Goodluck Jonathan in general terms, Guardian reports.

Fowler noted that the FIRS under his watch had performed better regarding specific non-oil tax types such as value added tax (VAT) and corporate income tax (CIT).He associated the overall lower collection since 2015 to the oil market crisis which has seen a fall in commodity price compared to the period under Jonathan, and recession “which slowed down economic activities.”

The presidency had sought an explanation for the somewhat average revenue receipt of the service.This comes as the Federal Government stated yesterday that Fowler was not under any probe

The clarification was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.He explained that the letter from Kyari on which basis the reports of an investigation were based “merely” raises concerns over the negative run of tax revenue collection in recent times.

The spokesman submitted that anyone conversant with the Federal Executive Council (FEC) deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today, and therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.

“It is noteworthy and highly commendable that under this administration, the number of taxable adults has increased from 10 to 20 million with concerted efforts ongoing to bring a lot more into the tax net,” he added.

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