- Seek clarifications before going public- Ogakwu Cautions HURIWA, TI
Civil Society Groups for Good Governance CSGGG, a coalition of over 180 CSOs, on Wednesday gave clarifications on speculations that the Federal Inland Revenue Service had proposed N1.4 billion naira for refreshments.
The President of the group, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic addressing newsmen in Abuja, revealed that it is based on the Freedom of Information, FOI, Law, the group requested clarifications and relevant documents from the FIRS before going public to address the allegations.
He sad: “As watchdogs of the society, we stand before you gentlemen of the press to announce here that our investigations and consequent findings after an official inquest to the service in March 12th, has necessitated the need for this press conference you have been gathered for, so as to set the records straight for posterity’s sake.
“We are hereby clarifying the misconceptions surrounding the alleged proposed 2021 draft budget for FIRS refreshments in 2021 and what was finally submitted to the National Assembly for approval.
“A breakdown of the alleged infraction will suffice. Refreshment and meals amounting to Three Hundred and Forty million naira (₦340,000,000.00) is under sub code 1001. The Sub-Code 1001, which is for Refreshment & Meals estimated at ₦340,000,000.00, for meetings with stakeholders and taxpayers, Office Functions, Technical Sessions, and Promotion Exercise Etc.
“In addition, the above Sub-Code deals with general entertainment/refreshments during meetings in the field offices, Head Office/Committee engagements across the FIRS in the 37 States, inclusive of FCT; and in the Headquarters, including Board Meetings and Tax Appeal Tribunal amongst others. There are over 500 Offices and Functions in FIRS and what each of these would get would be very negligible when analysed on monthly basis” he added.
The President also used the opportunity to advocate for better welfare packages for the staff of FIRS and other revenue generating agencies of government, a situation which he disclosed will further stimulate performances of public servants and enable them shun sharp practices.
Ogakwu however cautioned the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and Transparency International to desist from spreading false information without due process, he advised the leadership of such groups to visit the service forthwith for an inquest, rather than sitting on the fence to cast aspersions.