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Overseas training tears FIRS staff apart

By The Citizen
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Members of staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service are grumbling over an alleged favouritism in the selection of people for the few slots for overseas' training in the service.

It was learnt that the selection of staff members for overseas' training was not done with the expected level of objectivity in an organisation of the status of the FIRS.

An investigation showed that while several middle-level members of staff, who have committed between 20 and 28 years into the service, have not been given the opportunity to go for any overseas' training, newly engaged workers were being favoured with such training opportunities because of their link to people in positions of authority.

A source who spoke to our correspondent in confidence alleged that several members of staff were being sent out for training based on their relationships with highly placed officials running the revenue agency.

It was alleged that the ruling preoccupation for sending employees for training in the FIRS was not to acquire the additional knowledge which could be relied upon to achieve greater productivity in the discharge of their responsibilities, but a motive to provide an additional source of revenue for the favoured personnel.

The source said, 'FIRS workers are not sent abroad on the basis of objectivity. Some people have not been sent for training while some have gone for over five times.

'Curiously, some will go for the training three to four times per year. Some that are retiring go to the USA for training, blocking the chances of middle-level employees.

'An assistant director has spent 28 years without training. Some small girls who just joined are going for training. Ordinarily, these trainings are to expose the workers to the tactical aspects of the job such as accounting, auditing, management, personnel, auditing and others.

A look at the FIRS Human Resource and Policies Processes showed that the Executive Chairman of the commission, the Coordinating Director and a director are entitled to $900, $600, $550 respectively per day.

If the sum is converted to naira, with an exchange rate of N160 per dollar, the three officials receive N4.32m, N2.69m and N2.4m for 28 days respectively.

The top leadership of the service was said to have ensured that members of the union of the FIRS were sent to the UK, Japan and Canada for training as a way of preventing the union. Punch