In a bid to realise the 2020 revenue target of N8.5 trillion, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has embarked on a massive re-organisation that has seen the transfer of over 100 staff, cutting across various cadres, especially directors.
The Tide learnt that about 50 directors, deputy directors and assistant directors of the agency have been redeployed in the major shake-up.
The Executive Chairman of the newly constituted board of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has reportedly approved the redeployment of top directors in the agency.
The move did not totally come as a surprise, however, as Nami, shortly after his inaugural speech on January 16, hinted of his plans to restructure the Service as encapsulated in his 13-point agenda.
The shake-up, it was gathered, was to move staff to meet fresh challenges, bring their creativity to bear, break new grounds and eventually eliminate redundancy occasioned by monotonous work pattern.
While some of the directors were said to have moved up in relevance and ranking, one senior management staff got a tacit boot away from the agency. A new director also joined the service.
“I think it’s a normal process and procedure for a new boss to move staff around and put them where he feels they can function optimally once he studies the staff organogram.
“It is rare for a new boss to inherit and adopt the template his predecessor operated with, especially when he wants to up the ante and achieve higher targets,” a source said.
An Assistant Director confirmed that more transfers and movements will come as Mr Namu strengthens his hold on the FIRS.
“These transfers are normal. When Fowler also came, he moved people on a continuous basis until he was comfortable to do the job. And let me tell you, in the FIRS that I know, anyone who has spent four years in an office could be transferred. It’s in black and White. And staff know. The new chairman is eager for results. And as you can see, his focus is tax, tax, tax and anything that could assist him to realise the 2020 target,” the official said asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to journalists.
The FIRS spokesperson, Wahab Gbaddamosi, described the massive shake-up as “normal internal staff transfers in FIRS.”
He said it the usual movement of staff carried out by a new management.
“The FIRS Human Resource policy, which says that any staff that has done four years in a position can be moved around approves such movements.
Dollar Sells For N402 As CBN Suspends Forex Sale
The dollar exchanged for N402 last Friday at the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market.
This followed the suspension of sale of forex to the BDC operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.
According to the BDC, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not travelling.
The naira had also suffered a setback as a result of crude oil price that fell drastically in the international market, which raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general.
It would be recalled that the CBN had technically devalued the naira to exchange to the dollar at a N380 uniform rate last week, after market interventions could no longer sustain the exchange rate at N360.
In a notice to the BDC operators and directors, the President, ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the CBN’s approval meant that sales of foreign exchange to BDC were suspended till further notice.
Gwadabe also advised the public not to go into panic buying, hoarding and patronising street traders as the CBN had enough reserves to sustain supplies when the BDC operators would return to business.
A statement said the CBN had also acknowledged the contributions of the BDC operators in promoting stable exchange rate in recent months, despite challenging circumstances facing the forex market due to the drop in crude oil prices.
It stated: “This is to urgently bring to the notices of our members nationwide that following our letter of recommendations to the CBN to grant us market holidays on our bidding days as a proactive and preventive measure on the scourge of the novel COVID-19 epidemic and the ban on all air/land travels, the CBN has granted our request, effective Friday, March 27, 2020.”
“There shall be no market days henceforth for a tentative period of two weeks.”
COVID-19: NPA Suspends Demurrage Payment For 21 Days
The Nigerian Ports Authority has directed all terminal operators to suspend all applicable terminal storage fees on consignments (demurrage) for an initial period of 21 days effective March 23, 2020.
The NPA, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Mr Adams Jatto, last Friday, said that the gesture was in recognition of the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on businesses.
It added that the pandemic imposed the responsibility on the NPA to relieve this burden on its customers as well as attain the objective of the Federal Government’s ease of doing business policy.
The statement read in part: “The authority recognises the financial implications of these policies on the terminal operators and will consider a shift in our operational charges to ameliorate the situation of stakeholders.”
In reaction to the raging coronavirus, the Lagos State Government had issued a directive suspending all non-essential services.
Most businesses, except for food and pharmaceuticals, had closed.
A stakeholder, Sunny Nnebe, welcomed the move by the NPA, saying that most people who have their cargoes at the port could not pick them because of the lockdown.
“It is a big relief for us. It means we can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing we don’t have to cough out huge sums of money to pay for demurrage when businesses are not allowed to operate,” he said.
Nigeria May Enter Recession In Six Months –Minister
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has warned that the Nigerian economy may slide into recession if the coronavirus pandemic continues for the next six months.
She stated this during her appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today where she spoke on steps being taken by the government to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s economy.
She said: “We are hopeful that this pandemic will be limited in time. If it is an average of three months, we should be able to close the year with positive growth.
“But if it goes longer than that, six months, one year, we will go into recession.”
The warning came as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the global economy has entered recession over the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 on different countries.
The Managing Director, IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, who said this while making an opening remark during a conference call of the International Monetary Fund and Financial Committee, declared that no fewer than 80 countries had approached the Fund for help.
She said: “We have reassessed the prospect for growth for 2020 and 2021. It is now clear that we have entered a recession, as bad as or worse than in 2009.
“We do project recovery in 2021, in fact, there may be a sizeable rebound, but only if we succeed with containing the virus, everywhere, and prevent liquidity problems from becoming a solvency issue.
“A key concern about a long-lasting impact of the sudden stop of the world economy is the risk of a wave of bankruptcies and layoffs that not only can undermine the recovery but can erode the fabric of our societies.”
She added: “We have seen an extraordinary spike in requests for the IMF emergency financing, some 80 countries have placed requests and more are likely to come. Normally, we never have more than a handful of requests at the same time.”
Georgieva disclosed that the executive board of the IMF had already approved the first of the emergency requests for the Kyrgyz Republic, a record fast disbursement.
Reacting to the IMF chief’s submission on global recession and how it would affect Nigeria, experts agreed that if the deadly disease persisted, the nation’s economy would face a serious crisis.
The Managing Director, Afrinvest Securities Limited, Mr Ayodeji Ebo, said: “If this COVID-19 persists for the next six months and oil prices remain below $30 per barrel, then Nigeria may be in a crisis”.
“In addition, if the pandemic significantly spreads in Nigeria, business activities will seriously slow down.”
A professor of capital market studies, Uche Uwaleke, said that disclosure by the IMF chief about global economic recession would affect Nigeria’s economy negatively.
He said that Nigeria’s revenue from oil would be seriously affected.
He said, “The implication for Nigeria is that world trade had dropped; trade between Nigeria and other countries will suffer; there will be more capital flight because foreign investors will move to an economy that is safer.
“It has implications for export particularly oil which would lead to lower revenue for Nigeria; our trade and investment will also fall. If care is not taken, except the CBN continues to defend the naira, it will affect exchange rate.”
To survive the economic crisis, he said, “We need to produce and prioritise our spending by spending more on food and purpose import substitution.”
In his comments, a professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, Sheriffdeen Tella, said it would take a while before the global economy could recover due to the pandemic.
He said, “There is no production in the last two weeks and when there is no production, a lot of industries will be shut down and it will cause a drawback.
“There are also uncertainties as to when production will start in many parts of the world. So, we are already in recession as it were.”
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