Senate faults FIRS N1.6b budget for retirees’ welfare package

senateThe Senate Committee on Finance yesterday faulted the appropriation of the sum of N1.6 billion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as welfare package for its intending retirees in 2016.

Speaking during a budget defence session with the FIRS, Chairman of the committee, John Enoh, said the welfare package was quite outrageous given that the agency had not spent such amount in its previous approvals.

The committee also faulted the agency’s N700 million budget for medical bills of staff just as it decried the appropriation of over N16 billion as salaries of staff yet to be recruited.

To this end, the committee asked the FIRS to present the total breakdown of the proposed expenditure as well as submit details of what it spent last on its retired staff.

Enoh said: “We will need a presentation that tries to explain some particular cases of variation.”
His action followed observation by members of the committee that the budget for retired staff welfare was unreasonable based on allegations that the agency does not spend such huge amount for such purpose.

The committee also observed that the FIRS proposed the sum of N350 million in the 2015 budget and received approval of N148 million but was only able to spend N116 million out of the amount and wondered why it budgeted N700 million in 2016 budget.The committee also kicked against the appropriation of over N16 billion for salaries of 1,250 staff yet to be recruited in 2016 by the FIRS.

Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, however, explained that any amount approved but which was not expended, would be returned to the coffers of government.

Speaking specifically on the amount for salaries of intending employees, he said: “In terms of personnel, we are hoping that in the month of April, we will conclude the recruitment of 250 staff and we hope again, that by June, mid year, we will bring in a thousand other people.”

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