Recommendations for Nigeria's new FIRS leadership

24 January 2020 2 min. read
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Following the appointment of Muhammad Nami as Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) late last year, PwC Partner and West Africa Tax Leader Taiwo Oyedele has called for a patient approach to revenue policy going forth, as opposed to the heavy hand employed by Nami’s predecessors.

Oyedele spoke to CNBC Africa, discussing the strategy that the new board and chairman of the FIRS should employ going forward. Oyedele himself is an expert in Fiscal Policy, and is a member of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance’s National Tax Policy Implementation Committee.

Since joining PwC more than a decade ago, Oyedele has been vocal in his recommendations for the revenue policy and services in Nigeria, as the country looks to navigate a number of challenges. One such challenge is the central issue of tax defaults, which is leading the government to fall short of collection targets each year.

Recommendations for Nigeria's new FIRS leadership

Tackling this issue will be among the tasks facing Nami, who took office in early December last year. According to Oyedele, Nami has the opportunity to learn from recurring mistakes that have been made by a number of his predecessors, which have inadvertently led to problems. 

“I think the risk always is that once you are appointed into positions such as the head of the FIRS, there is a tendency to quickly jump into making promises and commitments. Like we had it four years ago, Fowler did say that he was going to increase revenue by 300 per cent and then he started rolling back,” said Oyedele.

“So, we are just saying that you guys should first make an assessment of what is on ground. And also don’t be quick to try and discontinue everything. What is it that is working that you can inherit and even make better? And what are the areas where we can do better?” he added.

Some of the things that Nami will have to evaluate for their effectiveness are the tax reforms that were introduced by his predecessor Babatunde Fowler last year, which were aimed at making the tax policy and collection process more streamlined and efficient. This included provisions to avoid multiple taxation and create a single window for a tax assessment.