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Under Fire FIRS Says It Didn't Disagree With FG On Subsidy

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 01, (THEWILL) – The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has denied that the agency is at variance with the Presidency’s position on the removal of subsidies on petroleum products.

In an emailed statement Tuesday to THEWILL in San Francisco, California, signed by Mr. Emmanuel Obeta, Director, Corporate Communications Department of the tax collector, the agency said it is not in disagreement with the policy.

Recall that in a signed submission made to the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation Weekend, the FIRS Executive Chairman, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru had stated that, “ the planned removal of oil subsidy by the federal government is likely to affect domestic cost of production of goods and services with negative impact on employment and incomes.’

A source told THEWILL that the Presidency was miffed at the reports credited to Omoigui in the media.

Continuing, in her submission as published by THEWILL on October 30, 2011, she noted that “on the other hand, the government’s declared intention to invest the money to be realized from removal of oil subsidy in infrastructure, health and education is expected to drive business in those areas with positive effects on tax revenue.”

According to her, the petroleum industry bill when passed would stabilize the Nigerian oil sector and provide tremendous benefits to Nigerians in the oil business adding that “there will be improvement of incomes with salutary effects on the tax administration and the economy as well.”

The statement from the agency reads: “The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service has been drawn to news stories reported in several newspapers …. stating that the agency is in disagreement with the Federal Government on the planned removal oil subsidy.

“They were various strands of the same report in several dailies, suggesting that there is a crack within government over the economic policy direction of the Federal Government.

“The FIRS wishes to state that as agency of the Federal Government, the question of disagreement with the policy direction of the Federal Government is not plausible, nor could it be contemplated.

“Contrary to insinuations in the media, Mrs. Okauru was neither at the meeting held on Friday, October 28, 2011 nor was she in Abuja on that day as she was on another official assignment. No discussions have ever taken place on the issue in question.

“The Coordinating Director, Corporate Development Group, Mr. Osy Chuke represented the Executive Chairman, Ifueko Omoigui Okauru at the House of Representative Committee's meeting on the 2012-2015 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and 2012 Fiscal Strategic Plan held on Friday, October 28, 2011 but no discussion took place. Rather, members of the House Committee specifically requested for Revenue estimates to be provided and presented on Monday, October 31, 2011.

“The FIRS wishes to restate that as an agency of the Federal Government it is working, in unison, with President Goodluck Jonathan and all members of his dedicated team to institute and implement policies and programmes that will provide sustainable revenue for the development of our country.”