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Ex-FIRS boss, Babatunde Fowler reacts to President Buhari not renewing his tenure 

Babatunde Fowler, the immediate past Executive Chairman of FIRS, has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to retain him.

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FIRS New Chairman

Babatunde Fowler, the immediate past Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to retain him as the tax boss after being replaced by Muhammad M. Nami yesterday.

Fowler, who was appointed in 2015 after transforming Lagos State tax system, said there is nothing automatic about having a second term. It was believed his appointment would be renewed as enshrined in the FIRS Establishment Act.

Fowler calls replacement surprising: While he agreed that people will take his replacement as a surprise during his handover to the most senior director, Abiodun Aina, he said it was a privilege to serve Nigeria.

Ghana and south africa, Illicit financial flows: Nigeria lost $157.5 billion between 2003 and 2012 - Buhari , President Buhari says World Bank, IMF data are not reliable, Ahead of Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa top FDI inflows in Africa – Fitch 

“Let me thank all of you who are here for what we have been able to do for our country. From the driver to the senior staff, everybody played a role. But with change, sometimes there is resistance. People will not understand the vision, will not understand the reason for the change. But hope in leaving FIRS, I’ve left behind something, something, positive, that each and every one of you can build on.

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“We have got a mandate. That mandate is not just to collect revenue. It’s a mandate to collect the maximum amount of revenue for all concerned for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“There is nothing automatic about having a second term. Some of you might say it’s a big surprise. It a privilege to serve one’s country. And if you have the privilege of serving your country for one term and you believe you have done your best, you have to thank God for that,” Premium Times quoted him in a report.

[READ MORE: Babatunde Fowler attributes FIRS success to technological innovation)

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He added that during his period, Nigeria became a relevant player in the global tax system, with some Nigerians taking up vital positions in international organisations.

“We have the opportunity to show the world that Nigeria has a lot to offer. It was during this period that we had a top Director, representing Nigeria and the world at the OECD. 

“It was within this period that Nigeria, for the first time chaired ATAF (African Tax Administration Forum), for two years running. It was within this period that Nigeria through your support, was appointed as the 1st Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee of Tax Experts. So we have a lot going for us,” he also thanked President Buhari for the opportunity to serve.

What caused Fowler’s replacement? Although his tenure ended before he was replaced, his retainment was in doubt after a leaked memo disclosed the query issued to him by the Presidency for the failure of FIRS to achieve its projected tax revenue under his leadership.

Nairametrics had reported that a memo, written from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, to Fowler circulated on Sunday, August 18, 2019, surfaced on the internet. He was questioned for the consistent failure to hit budget target and why his tax receipts over the last four years were lower than those of the previous administration.

FIRS boss, Babatunde Fowler’s tenure ends, replacement disclosed 

Abiodun Aina

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The memo noted that the actual collections between 2015 and 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014. Fowler defended himself, stating that the recession experienced by the Nigerian economy in 2016 as well as the drop in oil prices affected the revenue collected by the FIRS between 2015 and 2018.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. onlooker

    December 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

    His statement says it all. the man was trying to collect tax for the world, not Nigeria. What a statement.

    If i had to guess the primary reason he was sacked or rather not renewed, i would say he failed to see that Nigerian tax laws are not inline with best practices in developed nations like UK and US.
    …which means the man was earning salary for doing nothing and making the lives of Nigerians difficult while enriching his fellow accountants and lawyers with unregulated 3rd party fees.

    While information was being passed to FIRS about the problem even on twitter as well, he and team still couldn’t see what was wrong with the picture all while wasting resources.

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Coronavirus

BREAKING: Lagos launches N5 billion support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools

The Governor said the facility will benefit low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.

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Lagos State government has launched a N5billion support fund to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on low-cost private schools in the state.

This was disclosed by the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to him, the educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March.

He said, “With access to funding for privately owned schools and vocational training centres in the state, we are confident that this programme, under the partnership between First Bank Nigeria and Lagos State Education Trust Fund (LSETF) will help accelerate a sustainable return to learning and skills acquisition.”

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He explained that the facility will benefit 2,000 low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.

“As a responsible Government, we are obligated to provide interventions that would enable learners in schools study in line with the new normal,” the Governor Sanwo-Olu added.

The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said “With this partnership, we are sure that registered educational institutions in Lagos State will have access to funds at subsidised interest rates to meet their needs as they reopen at this auspicious time.”

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Business News

Paga Group relocates to the UK

Oviosu announced that he is very excited about moving to and working with the UK government.

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Paga records over $2 billion worth of transactions in 2019 , Paga acquires Ethiopian-based startup, Apposit, announces Paga subsidiaries

Paga Group has redomiciled from Mauritius to the United Kingdom (UK). The group is the holding company for its operations in Nigeria, México, Ethiopia, and the UK.

This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer and founder, Paga, Tayo Oviosu on Friday.

Why it matters: The company took the decision due to bureaucratic challenges it faced last year.

He said, “The laws and courts of Mauritius are not very fast-moving, and the rules are difficult. I’ve had one court case that was eventually thrown out after a year.

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“In the UK it would have been thrown out immediately, and the person would have had to pay us for our lawyer fees.

“Basically, not an easy place to do business. It is more painful than useful. I say stick to good ol’ America or UK or Netherlands or Luxemburg. Where you know there are professionals, and the legal system works.”

Oviosu said he is very excited about the move, looks forward to working with the UK government to promote trade with the UK.

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The Paga Group has raised $34.7 million in funding so far, according to Crunchbase.

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Appointments

Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc appoints Sola David-Borha as Non-Executive Director

Sola David-Borha has been appointed as a non-Executive Director to the board of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc appoints Mrs Sola David-Borha as non-Executive Director

Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has announced the appointment of Mrs Sola David-Borha to its board as a Non-Executive Director, subject to the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.

In a statement issued by the company, signed by the company’s secretary Mr. Chidi Okezie and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, stated that “Mrs. David- Borha is currently the Chief Executive, Standard Bank (Africa Regions). Prior to that, she served as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC (2012-2017) as well as the Bank (2011-2012), after holding various executive positions in Corporate Banking; Corporate & Investment Banking; and Investment Banking Coverage for Africa (excluding South Africa). She is also an Independent Non-Executive Director on the Board of CocaCola Hellenic Bottling Company.”

She has a vast experience in the financial world and an astute board leader with a keen corporate governance. Sola has led and sat on various boards including being the former Vice Chairman for the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, subsidiaries of the Stanbic IBTC and Standard Bank Groups, Coca-Cola HBG A, and many others. She is also vastly educated having obtained MBA from the prestigious Manchester Business School and Bsc in Economics from the University of Ibadan. She is also an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Recall that Stanbic IBTC had earlier declared a Profit After Tax (PAT) of N45.2 billion for H1, 2020. Its gross earnings also increased by 7.8% to N126.57 billion with a basic earnings per share of 419 kobo and a proposed interim dividend payment of 40 kobo per share.

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