Senate yesterday approved the appointment of Dr. William Babatunde Fowler as the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, following the consideration of a report by its Committee on Finance, which screened the nominee.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in September this year communicated the upper legislative chamber, requesting confirmation of the appointment of Fowler as the FIRS boss.
While confirming the appointment after dissolving into a Committee of the Whole, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said, “The nomination of Dr. William Babatunde Fowler is hereby approved as the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.”
Saraki, while congratulating Fowler, said improving tax revenues was key to the nation’s economy, explaining that the era of absolute dependency on oil proceeds was over.
He therefore expressed optimism that under the new FIRS boss watch, there would be improvement in revenue and tax collections as well as enhanced gross domestic product, GDP in the country.
The senate president, who particularly charged Fowler to use his experience to shore-up Nigeria’s tax revenue and improve on the country’s tax administration, however, warned that names of nominees should always be sent to the Upper House for confirmation before their assumption of office.
Presenting the report, the committee chairman, Senator John Owan Enoh (PDP Cross River Central), urged the Senate to consider the report on the nominee’s screening for appointment.
Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East), while seeking the support of his colleagues for Fowler’s appointment approval, described him as ‘a round peg in a round hole as far as revenue and tax collection is concerned’.
“Fowler is a tax expert and I make bold to say that not all collectors are real tax experts. The innovations he brought to Lagos State under the former state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was marvellous.
“He was able to increase Lagos revenue from N6.3billion to N23billion and when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him, I said this is a round peg in a round hole.
“In view of his antecedent, I want to plead with my colleagues to support his approval. More so, that he has promised to increase the number of corporate bodies that have been paying taxes to 500 and also increase the nation’s monthly revenue to N500 billion,” Senator Ashafa stressed.
But Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), in her contributions noted that Fowler has violated the constitution by assuming office before his confirmation by the Senate.
“Fowler has started working months before this recommendation for approval, and this is a violation of the constitution.
“Mr. President, we should make sure that people are appointed into office until they are cleared by this Senate. It is important that the Executive always seeks the clearance before appointing people into public office,” she said.

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