Investigation… How secret recruitment set FIRS against Senate
More revelations have emerged as to why the Senate refused to approve the 2016 budget of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) asides the excuse that it was padded.
According to multiple sources familiar with the genesis of the frosty relationship between the Senate leadership and FIRS, the refusal by the revenue-generating agency to honour a list of job applicants from the Upper Legislative Chamber in its ongoing recruitment exercise led to the face-off.
It was gathered that committee chairmen, numbering 64 in the Senate, submitted one name each for employment to the agency. Each principal officer submitted five names too, all amounting to over one hundred.
When the names were submitted to the chairman of FIRS, Dr Babatunde Fowler by the Senate committee chairman on Finance, Senator John Enoh on behalf of the Senate, he accepted, but refused to include them in the final recruitment list.
Angered by the development, the Senate took its pound of flesh on Thursday, when it made available a copy of the alleged over-bloated budget to Senate Correspondents.
According to the details of the budget, a copy of which was obtained by Ripples Nigeria, FIRS budgeted N960 million for purchase of computer equipment, N1.560 billion for purchase of office equipment, while N440 million went into supplies of office materials.
Similarly, office maintenance is to gulp N530 million and N170 was budgeted for maintenance of office generator.
According to the committee’s report, N700 million was budgeted for fueling of utility vehicles, while N750 million was budgeted on purchase of fuel for power generating sets.
The agency also budgeted N586 million for refreshment. N200 million was budgeted for sporting activities.
About N446 million is to be spent on training, while N885 million will go into payment of rents for offices. Electricity will gulp N500 million, while telephone calls will take N320 million. Internet connection is expected to gulp N300 million and office fumigation will gulp N750 million.
The Senate, during the clause to clause consideration of the committee’s report, discovered that almost every item listed as part of capital expenditures were captured in the 2015 budget of the agency.
It is however unclear if Dr Fowler will back pedal and accommodate the list sent to him by the Senate. In the event that it fails to honour the list, the Senate, it was gathered, may reduce the budget of the agency by over 30 per cent.
Beside the budget of FIRS, there are 29 budgets of other departments and agencies of the Federal Government currently before the Senate which are yet to be approved.
By Ehisuan Odia….