Ex-Minister urges President Buhari to call Federal Inland Revenue boss to order

Genera Sam Momah, former Minister of Science & Technology

A call has
gone to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu
Buhari
to call the Chairman of the Federal
Inland Revenue Services
, Mr. Tunde Fowler to order as some of
the measures adopted by his field officers in effort to drive revenue for the
government are not only uncivilized but highly unethical and anti-investor
friendly.
 Making the call during the launching of his
new book ‘Nigeria’s Break-Up: Grave Consequences and Solutions’ in Abuja at the tail end of year 2016, General
Sam
Momah a former minister of Science and Technology warned Mr.
Fowler
to mind the privacy and integrity of investors in the country as
they are not criminals to be meted with public disgrace in the name of raking
revenues for government.


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Giving his
opinion on the issue of multiple taxes in a recession economy, the General who
is a former member of the Provisional
Ruling Council
reacted tackled the question like this “I think it is a very, very serious problem. We are in a recession;
everybody including the government knows that the economy is in the woods, that
most businesses can not even pay salaries.

Babatunde Fowler….The FIRS boss. His men allegedly arrests and disgrace investors

But they (FIRS) come up with this
taxation that is driving everybody crazy. I had the unfortunate experience of
them (FIRS) arresting the GM of a firm I know and taking him somewhere because,
according to them ‘they haven’t paid their tax’. Normally, you pay everything
you want to pay, you pay your vat, you pay your company income tax, and you pay
education levy tax and all that. Suddenly, they will just come with one
fictitious amount and they will say ‘go and pay’.

General Momah who is the pioneer director of the National War College, Abuja spoke of Mr. Fowler’s crazy theatrics
as one which does not respect investor’s confidence in any way; he cited
instances where some expatriates were bundled with trepidation to FIRS office
to coerce them to pay “We found out that
some expatriates were equally arrested recently in Abuja. I mean expatriates
who have come to invest in Nigeria. They were arrested and treated like common
criminals. So, how can you get investors when you now harass expatriates? If
somebody does not pay tax, you have the normal courts you can approach; not
getting him locked up in some FIRS detention centers, embarrassing the person.
And when you see them go for this tax drive, they go with lorry loads of armed
police men, intimidating the owners of the business. Humiliating them, I think
it is not fair. If we are talking about unemployment problem, we shouldn’t
malign the private sector so badly because government is no longer employing,
it is only private individuals that are employing a few people of whom if they
lay them off, there will be anarchy on our streets”.

President Muhammadu Buhari…..Momah wants his government to advise Fowler on How to go about Government Revenues

Momah advised Fowler to take things
easy “I think the head of FIRS must
thread softly and know that this is not revision. What he did in Lagos was
successful when the economy was still stable and booming.  It can’t happen now because businesses are
not making it”.


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The 74 years
old elder statesman added “I think he has
to watch his steps because high handedness will not solve the problem. I think
the Federal Government should call him to order and let him try and be very
civilized and follow due process in pursuing his tax efforts. But doing it high-highhandedly
will harm the economy. Now, that we need investors, we need
people to employ people, if you just malign them and humiliate them, of course
they will lay off the workers and that will lead to anarchy”
General Sam Momah’s New Book
General Momah who has authored 8 books on
diplomacy, technology and regional integration in Africa further urged Mr. Muhammadu Buhari’s government to
diversify in order to build a buoyant economy “Diversification is a prime issue at this point in time. A mono economy
depending on oil is risky. Recently, our export was around two trillion dollars
and out of which almost 1.9 came from oil exports. That means that non-oil
exports are nothing to write home about. So, we must diversify and that is why
I stated in my new book that there should be a massive agricultural program in
the states and local government areas. States must be given targets to achieve.
We don’t want a federation where governors do everything, no. We must enforce
this, because the states are collecting monies from Federal Government.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo….Head of the Nigeria Economic Team

You
can’t collect money from me and I don’t bother what you do with the money. And
I am happy that during the inaugural speech of Mr. President, he did say that
he will not just move away from the state because if they collect money from
Federal, Federal must make sure that the money is effectively used and in fact,
decide what they use the money for. They must make sure the bulk of the money
they get goes into agriculture and properly utilized and use the savings of
that state to ensure that maximum delivery is produced with very little
resources”.

General Sam Momah…..Naira will rise if Nigerians produce their own products

How Naira can rise again…
On the shrinking
of the Naira against the Dollar, the former Adjutant General of the Nigerian
Army and Ph-D holder in Strategic Studies gave his mind “What I have to say is that Government should allow the Naira to find
its own level with exchange rate. And unless we do that, you will find out that
there will be so many gaps between the official rate and the black parallel
rate; that is the black market rate. Right now, government says it is N304 Naira per dollar but you know in
the black market, it is almost N500.
So, those who are making fortune are making almost N200 naira per dollar, which is a kill. They get these things at
government rates and then of course, sell at black market rate and that is a
lot of money and that is what is killing the economy.  We must let Naira find its own level; I know
it is not palatable. But that is the only way Naira can survive. That is why we
have to be productive to defend the Naira. If we are not productive and we
depend on oil, of course, Naira will keep going down. This again brings us back
to the Soludo era, during the Soludo era, he was able to breach the
gap between the official rate and parallel rate and that was very ingenious of
him. I believe some measures will be taken to achieve that”

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