The 2022 budget proposal of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) recently forwarded to the National Assembly is bogus and suggests to discerning members of the public that a wholesale plunder is ongoing in the agency, the Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative (TYLPI) has said.
The FIRS, one of the nation’s leading revenue collecting agencies, had proposed a budget of N228 billion for its services in 2022, a figure higher than the National Assembly’s N134 billion and the Judiciary’s N120 billion.
The figure also surpasses those of each of 22 states for the 2021 fiscal year.
In a statement signed by its Director of Publicity, Mr. Tunde Ipinmisho, TYLPI, a think tank of Yoruba professionals, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, said the FIRS budget proposal was an insult to Nigerians who were having to cope with bad roads, unstable power supply, ill-equipped hospitals and decaying educational infrastructure.
It therefore, urged the federal government, which itself had been piling up monumental debts in the past six years, to institute a forensic audit into the finances of the FIRS.
The group said a cursory look at the breakdown of the tax-collecting body’s proposal would lead observers to the inevitable conclusion that the agency had created phoney budget subheads to support the prodigal intention of its managers to provide avenues for looting.
It described the allocation of N2.8 billion for uniforms, N1.5 billion for photocopying machines, N1 billion for generator fueling, N1.3 billion for cleaning and fumigation, N3 billion for the printing of non-security documents and N550 million for meals as the financial equivalent of rape.
TYLPI said the disagreeable budget figures proposed by the FIRS should send clear signals to the government that those it put in charge of the agency do not subscribe to the administration’s anti corruption policy.
It therefore, urged the federal government to follow the precedent it set in the case of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by ordering a holistic audit and diagnostic examination of the agency.
With its current provocative budget proposal, TYLPI said those in charge of the FIRS had given themselves out as a conquering army seeking to appropriate to themselves the resources of the conquered territory as further confirmation of its conquest.
It added that the proposal had further strengthened the case for the restructuring of the country to make more funds available to the states rather than having an over bloated centre awash with money which it doles out to the beggarly federating units at its pleasure.
The group expressed regret that while critical sectors were being starved of funds, a single government agency could be seeking an appropriation that was larger than those of two arms of the government and the budgets of each of 22 states.
It therefore, urged the National Assembly to discountenance the bogus budget figures emanating from the FIRS as well as look more closely into the budgets of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government.