Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, has offered explanations regarding the five billion naira (N5,000,000,000,000), reportedly sent to the Committee by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
In a release on Friday titled, ‘’Clarification regarding the money provided by the FIRS to the Joint Tax Board to fund the activities of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee”, Mr. Oyedele said that over N4 billion of the said funds transferred by the FIRS is yet to be spent.
He explained how the fund will be spent:
“We are aware of a recent story regarding some funds transferred by the FIRS to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) for the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee.
The Committee’s budget includes provisions for a national “Data for Tax” project which the JTB has been championing for over 2 years.
The project was presented to the National Economic Council in 2022 and was meant to be funded by the federal government and the 36 states.
However it stalled due to lack of funds. Given the importance of the project to the effective reform of our tax system, it was included in the Committee’s budget.
Other expenses included in the Committee’s budget, which has the approval of the National Assembly, include setting up of offices for the Committee in Lagos and Abuja, payment of salaries for the full time staff engaged by the Committee, travels and other logistics for over 70 members representing more than 40 institutions and stakeholder groups mapped to 6 different Subcommittees, more than 30 Secretariat personnel and over 40 students across the country.
In addition, the budget covers planned stakeholder engagements with various sectors and interest groups, as well as international engagements and understudy of some leading tax regimes around the world, and so on.
The budget covers a period of one year being the lifespan of the Committee.
It should be noted that the Committee was not set up simply to produce reports and recommendations, we are also charged with the implementation of recommended and approved proposals which need to be funded.
The Committee’s mandate includes ensuring prudence and accountability in the management of our national resources.
It will therefore be a contradiction for the same Committee to be wasteful or reckless in its own affairs. Members of the Committee work on a volunteering basis and are only paid reasonable allowances to cover their out of pocket expenses as we cannot afford to pay the commercial value for their time, skills and experience. As the Chairman of the Committee, despite working full time on the assignment, I do not receive a salary.
All the expenses of the Committee are properly documented and available for audit. We collect receipts for fuel, stationeries, and virtually every Naira that we spend to the extent possible.
Over N4 billion of the said funds transferred by the FIRS to the JTB for the Committee’s work is yet to be spent and very much intact in the JTB account.
We will be responsible, prudent and accountable with every Naira of public funds we have been entrusted with.
Thank you all for your show of support and for the confidence reposed in us and our work. We will not let you down”.