FIRS Boss Honoured for Raising N2 trillion Revenue

Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chairman of Joint Tax Board, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru was honoured for collecting a tax revenue of N2.2 trillion in 2009 which is unprecedented in the history of tax administration in Nigeria.

Besides demonstrating a sterling academic excellence which culminated to earn her a first-class honours degree in Accounting in University of Lagos, Omoigui-Okauru also accumulated the highest number of prizes ever won by any individual in the faculty of Business Administration during her time

Chief Executive of Goodways Communications Limited, Mr Stanley Adiele, whose company honoured her in Abuja, also noted that as a fellow of Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Chartered Tax Practitioner, Omoigui has effectively made tax revenue compete against oil revenue in Nigeria.

“They have culminated in a quantum annual revenue leap from a paltry N106 billion in 1996 to a whooping N2.9 trillion in 2008. This represents an increase of 1,975 per cent and there are indications that the increase will continue in 2010. What all these progressions suggest is that Nigerians as a people, may not be as bad as they are painted. They may not also be as unproductive, corrupt and incapable of embracing change as they are made to look; what they actually need is exemplary leadership, the type Mrs Omoigui-Okauru is propagating at the FIRS” he further stated.

Concerning the book presentation of 100 first-class graduates, Adiele said it was meant to fire up the younger generation to toe the line of excellence rather than celebrate and glamourise mediocrity which is the in-thing in Nigeria.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor Emeritus, University of Nigeria and Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Professor Chinedu Ositadinma Nebo said that the way of excellence requires discipline and dogged determination as real people of excellence are by nature eccentric.

“They (awardees) have shown that the way of excellence is the way of dogged determination and unflinching purposefulness. The way of excellence is neither for the slothful nor for the cowardly. That narrow way is for those who see the cosmos as a glorious and impeccable laboratory for the maximisation of our God-given talents and our own acquired expertise as we labour on in the cosmos.

Since a peculiar characteristic of these overachievers is excellence, one is tempted to take a brief look at the distinguishing characteristics of excellence per se. First, the way of excellence is the way of discipline. Rarely does anyone wear the cap of excellence who is not tutored in discipline. This also calls for a delicate balance between patience and impatience, between inquiry and acquisition of stale knowledge, between slavery to convention and daring to be different. The way of excellence leads one to think outside the box in a fashion that may sometimes be viewed as eccentric. Real people of excellence are by nature eccentric” he noted.

Responding, Omoigui dedicated the award to her family, teachers and those she had worked with, while also thanking her husband. To the students who aspire to have a first-class degree, she advised that to have a first-class degree is more of attitude rather than hard work.

“We are all here to leave the world better than we met it. You choose a mark that will be better for you. Don’t choose a path because of Omoigui-Okauru or what your parents did” she advised.

Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru stated the need to review Nigeria’s old tax policy, pointing out that it was not friendly to the payers.She said it had provisions that paraded loopholes and in effect made it difficult for even the revenue authorities to perform its duties.

Speaking on the Bills before the national assembly, she said: “there is a tax policy that was passed by the national assembly as approved by the federal executive council (FEC), that policy drives the process that we have today, the policy in itself is not an enactment of law. The Bill we have in the national assembly is part of the eight bills we sent to them in 2005.

“What we have now is a continuation of what is encapsulated in that policy, i think its a step in what a tax policy is all about , a tax policy says we all should pay our tax, but it should not be made a burden or a challenge, it should be easier for all to their taxes. So, the personal income tax amendment bill in the national assembly is meant to address the process in the personal income tax policy.

“What we are saying is that the law is unfair on the people, and we want to remove the ambiguities within the law and make it friendlier for the people to comply with, more so, we want to be able to capture all those not in the tax net for a better process and yield, and that is why we have the personal identification number (TIN),” Omoigui-Okauru said.

She also charged parents to equal to the task of their children’s upbringing, by ensuring that they are encouraged to work harder at school and relent or condone laziness or indolence.
The FIRS boss also challenged the youths to imbibe the culture of working for merit wherever they find themselves and not to rely on cheating and other vices that soil their reputation.

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