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Nami: Pioneering digital technology service at FIRS



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By Abubakar Yusuf

The appointment of Mohammed Nami as the helsman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), came at a time there was a general clamour for the repositioning of the hub of revenue generation in Nigeria.

The new FIRS Chairman’s appointment also coincided with his template and aggressive ideas of introducing major tax drive policies and programmes that will in turn improve the revenue generation stature of the organization.

This came at a time when the dwindling revenue allocations to States was at a precarious situation, owing from both natural and artificial phenomenon prevalent in Nigeria.

As one of the agencies that is primarily charged with providing monthly funds to Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to local government, states and federal government, the need to redirect its activities towards more virile performance became sancrosanct.

Though, confronted with the world ravaged crises of COVID-19 that led to many months of lockdown and restrictions of movement the world over, the new management was determined to improve on the existing successes met on assumption of duty.

The desire to mop up taxable items and activities though, constrained with the biting economic recession on assumption of duty, compounded by the human induced crises of Endsars, that brought businesses to a stand still.

Determined to make a change in the shortest possible time, he embarked on vigorous repositioning of the ‘Revenue House’ through mass orientation and re-orientation of all cadres of staff of the agency, with awareness, training and re-training to be able to deliver on the new expectations of the top echelon, as well as the statutory functions of generating funds for monthly allocations.

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This led to the re-introduction of a more advanced and the current trend of payment acceptable worldwide ahead of the existing online payments to a digital platform, that covers all areas of remittances from local governments, states to federal with a seamless process devoid of any encumberances.

The digitisation of payments introduced by the current Mohammed Nami led FIRS had nipped in the bud, the unresolved and unending practices of reconciliation between the receiver and timely remittances of same instruments to the final destination devoid of any unholy collaboration.

The new template has also brought to an end series of practices engaged by the financial institutions by under declaring or allowing funds meant to be retired as at when due, remain with the receiver for other purposes not envisaged by the agency.

Nami’s foresight had brought a relief to the agency in combating series of sharp practices prevalent in the commission, corrupt tendencies/practices within and outside the agency, that will affect the smooth remittances of collectible revenue meant to service the federal allocation on monthly basis.

It had also led to the discovery of multiple and consistent tax evasion, particularly at the local governments and state levels as well as federal institutions, the idea of manipulation of tax payments and remittances.

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The positive development brought on board, transparency, accountability, dedication to duty,sense of responsibility among staffers of the agency in the course of carrying out their official engagements.

The global approach had also brought absolute confidence to the process of financial transactions of the agency, both to Nigerians and the foreigners who were daily involved in series of taxes and remittances to the institution.

The process came on board at a time when the country is battling with financial crises, occasioned by the global trend and enabled by domestic situations, that desired sane practices, innovations of a well thought Management under Mohammed Nami in FIRS.

It also came at a good time when other contributing agencies to the federation account like the NNPC, CBN, Customs are variously bedeviled with precarious situations, ranging from oil prices, illegal bunkering, sea pirates, economic performance and low patronage as a result of the activities of smugglers and their accomplices, within and outside the shores of Nigeria,along with the world health challenges of COVID in first, second and even third wave in countries.

The new template of digitisation of payments at all levels had discouraged some financial institutions from keeping funds meant for FIRS in their kitty, due for remittance under the guise of maintaining flows in their coffers, and not reconciled as at when due.

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The immediate results of the new form of digital payment being implemented by the FIRS had jerked up it’s remittances, bounce back the economic growth as the agency is single handedly funding 70% federation account, through monthly FAAC, inspite of the downturn from remittances from NNPC, CBN and Customs of recent time.

With a well tested, trusted management under Nami, who had many years experience and expertise in both accounting and auditing, remittances and other ancillary financial transactions both from the public and private sector, no doubt in the next few years, the agency will perform beyond the current expectations.

With efforts and strides coming from FIRS at this critical period the world is undergoing both economic, health and other pressing challenges which Nigeria is not left out, no doubt, the agency in the nearest future will fund not only the federation account with 100%, but other critical infrastructural projects desiring attention of the goverrment to the benefits of ordinary Nigerians.

The new Management under Mohammed Nami with vigorous campaigns, awareness, actions on tax collection is determined to move the agency from it’s slumber to high pedestal, as witnessed in the last few months on his assumption of duty, at the ‘Revenue House.’

Yusuf is a Public Affairs Analyst and writes from Abuja.


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