Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has been named among the world’s 50 most influential tax personalities and institutions by the authoritative publication, International Tax Review, in its Global Tax 50 2017.
The rankings, which are in their seventh year, provide a rundown of the most influential individuals, organisations, Geo-political events and trends in the tax world. According to the publication’s website, Fowler has excel in his role as Chairman of FIRS, which, in 2016, collected N3.3 trillion in tax revenue.
The International Tax Review noted that part of Fowler’s success was achieved through the decision to educate the public and the private sector about tax and to lead technology integration in the Nigerian tax system.
Other Information Technology projects in the pipeline, noted the publication, are the electronic tax clearance certificate and electronic notification of payment of Withholding Tax credit notes.
“For these efforts, FIRS was awarded by African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) for the best innovation in Africa for its e-Stamp Duty portal, a web-based self-service tool to calculate stamp duties payable,” noted International Tax Review.
The publication also noted that Fowler marked his first year as ATAF Chairman in 2017 and was appointed to the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters as the first Vice Chairman where, as one of the 25 members, he will serve a four-year term.
International Tax Review equally recognized Fowler’s role in promoting the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance. International Tax Review said it believes that Fowler will continue to strengthen capacity building among Africa’s tax administrations and contribute to global discourse on illicit financial flows.
Fowler joined the Lagos State Government and was appointed permanent secretary/executive chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue on November 24, 2005, thereby upgrading the office of the executive chairman to the highest level in the civil service.
His tenure as LIRS Chairman recorded sharp increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from an average of N 3.6billion per month in January 2006 to an average of over N20.5billion per month in 2014,with improved quality of service delivery to taxpayers, improvement in the use of IT and other modern methods of tax administration, an enlightenment campaign on tax administration and education in Africa.