The Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, Taiwo Oyedele, has announced that the committee is set to allocate billions for its operations. In a statement posted on his social media page, Oyedele clarified that the controversial N5 billion provided by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) is intended to cover the committee’s budget.
This statement comes following comments by the former executive chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, who revealed that the service had disbursed the aforementioned sum to the JTB with presidential approval.
Oyedele went on to provide a breakdown of the committee’s budget, revealing that a significant portion will be allocated to fund the national ‘Data for Tax’ project. This project, which aims to enhance the country’s tax system, was initially intended to be funded jointly by the federal government and the 36 states but had stalled due to a lack of funds. Given its crucial role in tax reform, the project has been incorporated into the committee’s budget.
The budget also covers various expenses, including establishing committee offices in Lagos and Abuja, salaries for full-time staff engaged by the committee, travel costs, logistics for over 70 members representing more than 40 institutions and stakeholder groups, as well as international engagements and studies of leading tax regimes worldwide.
Oyedele emphasized the committee’s commitment to accountability and prudent financial management. He stated, “The committee’s mandate includes ensuring prudence and accountability in the management of our national resources. It will therefore be a contradiction for the same committee to be wasteful or reckless in its own affairs.” All expenses are meticulously documented and available for audit.
The chairman highlighted that committee members serve on a voluntary basis, receiving only reasonable allowances to cover their out-of-pocket expenses. Oyedele himself, despite working full-time on the assignment, does not receive a salary.
He also noted that over N4 billion of the allocated funds from FIRS to JTB for the committee’s work remains intact in the JTB account and is yet to be spent.