By Godwin Etakibuebu
Below is the content of the 2022 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service [FIRS]; an agency of the federal government responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for all taxes and other revenues accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria or any of its agencies, presented to the Nigerian National Assembly for approval.
Before going into reading the details of this budget proposal, we need to know that the FIRS do not create revenue or wealth. It brings nothing – nothing whatsoever, to the table of the Nigerian peoples’ wealth table.
Its duty and operation is limited only to the following: collects Value Added Tax, Company Income Tax, Stamp duty, Technology levy, Personal Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Nigeria Customs Service Import VAT, Electronic Money transfer and Gas income. These are what it calculates, collect and remit to the Federal Government’s account. It does not create wealth at all. This is one fact that must be known.
Now, we can embark on scrutinizing the details of the budget, and we should, by all prudential instincts, take recognition of the expenditures, as being presented by this Federal Government Department; a Department that does not generate nor create wealth.
FIRS to spend N2.8bn on uniforms, N550m on meals
Board members to earn N370m sitting allowance
The Federal Inland Revenue Service has earmarked the sum of N2.8bn for “uniforms and clothing” for the year 2022.
The tax body has also budgeted about N550m for refreshments and N200m for sporting activities. The FIRS, which is one of the highest revenue generating government bodies, set aside N262.5m for security votes while N17.8bn would be spent on “miscellaneous” expenses.
The details are included in the 2022 budget proposal the agency submitted separately to the National Assembly.
Already, there are concerns over the cost of governance and the percentage of the annual budget that goes into recurrent expenditure.
In the 2022 budget proposal the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), presented to the joint section of the National Assembly on October 7, a whopping N4.69tn out of the total N16.39tn budget was appropriated for personnel costs and pensions (inclusive of
N617.72bn for the 63 GOEs). Also, the overhead cost would gulp N792.39bn (inclusive of N451.0 billion for the 63 GOEs).
Owing to the nation’s scarce resources and low revenue, the Federal Government would spend N3.61tn on debt servicing while it would borrow an additional N6.25tn from domestic and external sources to fund the deficit in the budget.
Meanwhile, the total budget of the FIRS stands at N228bn, surpassing the 2022 budget of the National Assembly (N134bn) and the judiciary (N120bn).
The FIRS budget also surpasses the current 2021 budgets of Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.
Budgets N17.8bn for miscellaneous expenses
In its 2022 budget proposal, the tax body earmarked N2.5bn for the purchase of land, N3bn for office furniture, N1.5bn for photocopying machines, N2.04bn for computers and N500m for the construction of sports facilities. The agency set aside N1bn for generator fuel and N250m for maintenance while a separate N550m was set aside for purchasing more generators.
The FIRS will spend N6bn on its new headquarters and N2bn on the purchase of vehicles. It budgeted about N1.3bn for cleaning and fumigation of its offices nationwide while N1.4bn will be spent on general maintenance services. The FIRS budgeted about N1.3bn for office stationery and computer consumables while N3bn will be spent on printing non-security documents. The agency will spend N1.4bn on electricity charges, N460m on telephone charges and N1.3bn on security services. The FIRS will spend N7.9bn on donations and N200m as contributions to international organisations. The agency earmarked N800m for legal services, N1.04bn on bank charges, N9.5bn on welfare packages; N1.1bn on staff retreat and N2.9bn on repairs.
The first shocking item confronting us in this budget proposal obviously must be the sum of N2.8bn for “uniforms and clothing” for the year 2022. The “uniforms and clothing” being mentioned here is strictly “drivers’ uniform” – talking of uniforms made with Khaki materials, and we are not talking of those designers’ khaki made up of Comrade Aliyu Adams Oshiomhole’s fame [I am not too sure if the Comrade still wear khaki these days], but just the every poor man’s Khaki in the Nigerian market square.
Hold your breath if you think the cost is too high, even for heaven’s sponsorship. In the year 2019, the same FIRS budgeted One Hundred and Sixty Million Naira [160,000,000] for 850 drivers’ uniforms, bringing the cost of each driver uniform to N188, 235, 29. Can you beat that? And that was in 2019. Enough look on drivers’ uniform as we must look at other items.
Board members shall be earning N370m sitting allowance for the incoming year, N550m for refreshments, N200m for sporting activities, set aside N262.5m for security votes while N17.8bn would be spent on “miscellaneous” expenses.
Other items budgeted for by this Tax-Collector Agency in its 2022 proposal; include N2.5bn for the purchase of land, N3bn for office furniture, N1.5bn for photocopying machines, N2.04bn for computers and N500m for the construction of sports facilities. The agency set aside N1bn for generator fuel and N250m for maintenance [of same we may want to assume] while a separate N550m was set aside for purchasing more generators.
After marking out N1bn for generator fuel and N250m for maintenance of same it set aside again another N550m for purchasing more generators.
Above is the sad tale of the Nigerian State. It is the same story through all the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Parastatals, and even the Presidency.
IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE COUNTRY CALLED NIGERIA?
Sources of Information: Punch Newspaper of 17 October 2021.
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.
Phone: +234-906-887-0014 – short messages only.
You can also listen to this author [Godwin Etakibuebu] every Monday; 9:30 – 11am on Lagos Talk 91.3 FM live, in a weekly review of topical issues, presented by The News Guru [TNG].