Nigeria’s revenue agency ‘under financial strain after secretly recruiting’ 2,000 staff

Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami

The Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU) has claimed that Nigeria’s revenue agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is currently facing financial pressure due to the secret recruitment of over 2,000 workers within a period of 18 months.

The union revealed that the agency was finding it difficult to pay salaries at some point this year and demanded an end to the re-engagement of retired directors and other categories of staff.

NCSU stated this in a letter to the FIRS Chairman, Muhammad Nami, dated June 21, 2021. The letter titled, ‘21 days’ ultimatum to FIRS management,’ was signed by the Chairman, NCSU-FIRS Unit, Idris Abdulrahman; and the Secretary, Idowu Jimoh, respectively.

It was copied to the Minister of Finance, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU), Federal Council, the FIRS board secretariat and all FIRS staff.

The letter read in part, “In compliance with extant provisions/protocols on recruitment and career progression, we demand the immediate stoppage of re-engagement of retired directors and other categories of staff. We have noted that timely payment of salaries was a challenge at some point in 2021 after discrete recruitment of over 2,000 staff within a record period of less than 18 months.”

The union also attributed the dwindling revenue collection in the country to the “untimely implementation of the tax pro-max application by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

It said the implementation has had adverse effects on collections which ought to be high in June/July from analysis of past records.

While lauding the application which enables seamless registration, filing and payment of taxes and automatic credit of withholding tax as well as other credits to the tax payers’ accounts, the union faulted the timing of the implementation which it said coincided with the FIRS’ peak period for tax collection.

The union, therefore, recommended that the application be done in phases while asking that the tax payers should be allowed to file both electronically and manually.

The NCSU also handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the management to meet its various demands, including the payment of general performance bonus for collecting 98.6 per cent of the 2020 revenue target.

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