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Delayed Allowances threaten FIRS’ N5tn revenue target

The projected N5tn tax revenue from the Federal Inland Revenue Service this year may not be realized as a result of the delay in the payment of allowances to workers of the organisation.

The outstanding allowances, which are said to be causing deep disenchantment in the organisation, are bonuses described as “14th and 15th month salaries.”

Workers of the organisation, who spoke with our correspondents on Friday, grumbled that the acting Chairman had failed to pay the bonuses, which were usually paid under the former Chairman, Mrs. Ifueko Omogui.

The workers were further angered by what they called a new trend in FIRS where payment of salaries was being delayed.

Investigations revealed that the FIRS workers were dismayed by the payment of their January salaries in the middle of February, aside from the outstanding allowances for the “14th and 15th month salaries.”

It was further learnt that the workers were equally angered by the failure of the current chairman to pay quarterly allowances to them.

Some of the workers told our correspondents that the quarterly allowances for December 2012 had not been paid by the current management of the service.

They also alleged that the chairman appointed tax controllers to favour a particular segment of the country to the disadvantage of the South.

It was alleged that 70 per cent of tax controllers at the Federal Capital Territory came from the northern part of the country.

Sources at the FIRS said the delay in the appointment of a substantive chairman for the organisation was responsible for the decline in the focus of the management for staff motivation in the pursuit of the target for non-oil revenue for the year.

It was alleged that the acting chairman was more engrossed in moves to be retained as the substantive chairman of the foremost revenue agency than issues relating to staff motivation.

There are growing speculations that highly placed politicians and influential businessmen are being contacted to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue of the FIRS top job.

It was gathered that a northerner might not be favoured for the top job owing to the fact that the top positions in majority of the revenue generating agencies under the Ministry of Finance were currently being occupied by northerners.

Some of them are the Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service; Managing Director, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation; Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; and Director-General, National Pension Commission, who was recently retired

The Director, Communications and Liaison Department, FIRS, Mr. Emmanuel Obeta, could not be reached for comments as calls and text messages put across to his telephone line did not go through.

But a senior management official in the organisation told our correspondent on the condition of anonymity since he was not officially permitted to speak on the issue that the 14th month allowance might not be paid as there was not enough money in the non-oil tax revenue account to fund the payment.

He, however, said workers’ salaries for February as well as their13th month allowances were paid two weeks ago.

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