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Senate okays N168.8b FIRS 2020 budget

The Senate on Thursday approved N168,809,476,220.00 as the 2020 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The approval followed the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Finance in  the FIRS’ 2020 budget proposal.

Chairman of the Committee, Sen Solomon Adeola, in his report recommended a one-off special purpose intervention fund of N100billion for the agency which was approved by the Senate.

Adeola said the N100billion is to assist the FIRS fund pressing needs, such as: completion of the FIRS Head Office building complex, six training schools, 30 prototype tax operations office; purpose-built facilities for efficient taxation of upstream petroleum industry and ICT infrastructure to identify and track digital transactions.

He also put the estimated revenue target for the agency for the 2020 fiscal year at about N6trillion comprising oil revenue of N1.56trillion and non-oil revenue of N4.502trillion.

He noted that the FIRS budget is based on Zero Budgeting approach while the revenue estimates are based on the approved 2020-2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).

He added that projected four per cent cost of collection is estimated at N180.086 billion while the two per cent cost of collection (VAT) ceded to Nigeria Customs Service is N11.279 billion.

He said: “Net projected four per cent cost of collection available to FIRS to be appropriated by NASS is estimated at N168.80 billion. Proposed Personnel expenditure based on 10,750 staff strength stood at N 97.36 billion.

“Overhead cost projection is based on envisaged service wide revenue drive and other supporting activities estimated at N41.06 billion. Capital estimate including on-going and new projects is estimated at N30.63 billion.”

According to Adeola, assumptions underlying the budget personnel cost estimate include: “The nominal roll used in arriving at the personnel cost assumed an establishment numbers of 10,750 for the 2020 fiscal year; 13th month salary is provided in the personnel cost at a level of an amount equivalent to one month employees salary.

“Subsistence allowance at 30 per cent of consolidated allowance is included in the personnel cost to serve as a morale booster to staff.’’

“Performance bonus is provided to motivate staff to higher productivity. This is set at 50 per cent of annual consolidated salary and to be disbursed in the following instances:

“(I) A portion to all staff if the entire FIRS meets the Budgeted targets. (ii) A portion to those staff in offices that meet and exceed the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set at the beginning of the year.”

Other proposals of the panel approved by the Senate include: “The Committee recommends the digitalisation of all processes in the administration of tax in FIRS, so as to catch up with rapidly increasing economic activities most often carried out on-line without physical presence.

“It is recommended that FIRS (Establishment) Act and other tax laws be amended to make it possible for the Service to modernise its operations with relevant technology.

“The Committee recommends that all amounts accruing into below the line account, which is not part of the budget, must be approved by the Committee on Finance of the National Assembly, before expenditures are made from the account.

“Consequently, all below the line accounts accruing to the service in this year must be approved by the National Assembly. The Committee recommends that the budget for this financial year must terminate on December 31, 2020. This must be maintained to ensure adherence to the January to December financial year.

“The Committee recommends that henceforth, the budget of FIRS for any financial year must be approved by the Senate, by the end of October of the preceding year. This is to ensure strict compliance with the January to December Financial year.

“The Committee recommends the need for the Service to have an intervention fund and hereby recommends to the Senate, the approval of one-off special purpose fund to the tune of N100 billion.”

Source: thenationonlineng.net