The presidential aide was reacting to reports in some sections of the media that the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, is under investigation.
A leaked memo from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, indicated earlier that President Buhari had summoned the FIRS boss to the Villa to explain shortfalls in tax revenues.
Kyari, in a letter dated August 8, 2019, said it was worrisome that actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014.
According to Shehu, “consequently, it would appear that the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realisation in tax revenue.
“Anyone conversant with Federal Executive Council deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today and, therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.
“It is noteworthy and highly commendable that under this administration, the number of taxable adults has increased from 10 million to 20 million with concerted efforts still on-going to bring a lot more into the tax net.”
The presidential aide emphasized that “it is necessary to state categorically that the Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, is not under any investigation.
“The letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on which the purported rumour of an investigation is based, merely raises concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.
“Taking a cue from today’s (Monday) presentation of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-designate, Federal Permanent Secretaries and top government functionaries, which dwelt on an ‘Overview of the Policies, Programmes and Project Audit Committee,’ a body he chaired, projected revenue of government falls behind recurrent expenditure, even without having factored in capital expenditure.”