Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Abiodun Aina, on Monday, said Tunde Fowler stepped on toes during his first term as the chairman.
Aina said this at the handover ceremony on Monday after President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Muhammad M. Nami as the new FIRS chairman
Aina, who spoke in glowing terms about Fowler, thanked him for transforming FIRS even as he admitted that he stepped on toes during his term.
Aina said: “Thank you very much Mr, Chairman, my boss, my brother, and my good friend Sir. As you hand over to me I say what am I running? To have fought a good fight. You laid a very solid foundation
“Within the intervening period that I will be holding fort, I promise you to steady the ship, by the grace of God. You have done a lot within the space of four years. You have transformed FIRS. You have modernised it. There has been a lot of innovations and under you, we have achieved great heights.
“When we look back in 2015, the section was about N3. 3 trillion. At the end of 2018, with your leadership, we were able to move to N5. 32 Trillion. That was the highest collection ever, in the annals FIRS. You brought dynamism to FIRS.
“You introduced so many programmes that repositioned FIRS: Tax Amnesty Programme implemented VAIDS, increased the number of taxpayers nationwide to over 20 million in a space of four years, began placing lien on the account of taxpayers to ensure that each capable corporate taxpayers pay his/her dues, fostered collaboration amongst the states through the Joint Tax Board, began robust information sharing amongst states, launched the JTB TIN so that states might have access to data for tax purposes, deepened FIRS’ embrace of technology for tax purposes and many more.
“But like you also mentioned in your speech, change is usually resisted. And so you stepped on toes. That is normal. Leadership is not a popularity contest. And I’m sure you know that very well. And that was why you were focused on carrying out the mandate that was given to you. I can tell you on behalf of my colleagues here that we will miss you. You have left a very big shoe behind. We will do all we can to ensure that we will keep the flag flying.
“Thank you very much for what you have done for us.”