Oyedele Clarifies Transfer of Funds for Tax Reform Committee
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, has cleared the air regarding recent reports on the transfer of funds to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) under the erstwhile chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami, for the tax reform committee.
In a statement on Friday, he revealed that N5 billion was paid to the board to fund activities of the team set up by President Bola Tinubu, noting that “The committee’s budget includes provisions for a national Data for Tax project which the JTB had been championing for over 2 years.”
According to him, the project was presented to the National Economic Council (NEC) in 2022 and was meant to be funded by the federal government and the 36 states. However, this stalled due to lack of funds.
“Given the importance of the project to the effective reform of our tax system, it was included in the Committee’s budget,” he said in a post shared via his X, formerly Twitter, page,
Giving a breakdown of other expenses, he said these included “committee’s budget, which has the approval of the National Assembly, including setting up of offices for the committee in Lagos and Abuja, payment of salaries for the full-time staff engaged by the committee, travels and other logistics for over 70 members representing more than 40 institutions and stakeholder groups mapped to 6 different Subcommittees, more than 30 secretariat personnel and over 40 students across the country.
“In addition, the budget covers planned stakeholder engagements with various sectors and interest groups, as well as international engagements and understudy of some leading tax regimes around the world, and so on. The budget covers a period of one year being the lifespan of the committee.”
He clarified that he was not put on a salary, adding that members of the committee worked on a volunteering basis and were only paid reasonable allowances to cover their personal expenses.
He said, “It should be noted that the committee was not set up simply to produce reports and recommendations, we are also charged with the implementation of recommended and approved proposals which need to be funded.”
“Members of the Committee work on a volunteering basis and are only paid reasonable allowances to cover their out-of-pocket expenses as we cannot afford to pay the commercial value for their time, skills, and experience.
“As the Chairman of the Committee, despite working full time on the assignment, I do not receive a salary,” he added.
He further revealed that all the expenses of the committee are properly documented and available for audit.
“We collect receipts for fuel, stationeries, and virtually every Naira that we spend to the extent possible. Over N4 billion of the said funds transferred by the FIRS to the JTB for the committee’s work is yet to be spent and very much intact in the JTB account,” he stated.