President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, opted against extending the tenure of Babatunde Fowler as the chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and appointed Mr Muhammad Nami as the new boss.
The appointment, which is subject to confirmation by the Senate, was borne out of the expiration of Fowler’s tenure. We recall that Babatunde Fowler was appointed by Buhari on 10 August 2015 and was subsequently confirmed by the senate on 9 December 2015.
The new FIRS boss, Nami, graduated from Bayero University Kano where he studied Sociology and proceeded to obtain an MBA from Ahmadu Bello University. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and an Associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) & Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN). Currently, he is the Managing Consultant of Manam Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners and Business Advisers).
The decision by President Buhari not to extend Babatunde Fowler’s tenure has been met with mixed reactions. Many had expected his tenure will be extended considering his stellar performance as FIRS Chairman. From his year of appointment (2015) till the end of 2018, tax collection under Fowler’s regime grew by 42.2% to N5.3 trillion from N3.7 trillion while also increasing Nigeria’s tax base to over 20 million taxpayers compared with to the 10million as at 2016. Notably, the sum of N5.3tn collected last year is a record high in Nigeria’s tax collection history.These achievements are notable given that the nation fell into a recession during his tenure while oil taxes dwindled due to a decline in oil production and price. Furthermore, he was responsible for the digitisation drive of the FIRS with notable improvements in tax registration, audit and payment procedures. He also introduced the Tax