The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has condemned the allocation of billions of naira to the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee.
In a statement made available to NIM, the National Coordinator, HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, described the allocation as a money-guzzling gambit and a blatant attempt to siphon public funds for dubious purposes.
The group also expressed concern at the recent revelation that the committee would spend billions on its operations, including the allocation of N5 billion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the Joint Tax Board (JTB), saying that it raises questions about the necessity of such a committee and the allocation of substantial public resources to it.
”Nigeria already has a well-established and legally empowered tax authority in the form of the FIRS. Setting up an additional committee, especially one that demands billions of Naira in funding, raises serious doubts about the rationale behind its existence. This redundancy serves no practical purpose and appears to be an unnecessary drain on public resources.
“The allocation of such substantial funds without a clear, compelling reason and transparent oversight mechanisms undermines the principles of transparency and accountability in public administration. The opacity surrounding the allocation of funds and the committee’s operations is deeply troubling.
“If tax reform is genuinely needed, the FIRS itself, supported by existing laws, has the capability to undertake such reforms or seek recommendations from professional bodies within Nigeria. There is no need to establish a parallel committee, particularly one that operates with significant public funds.
“The allegations surrounding the appropriation of funds for this committee further raise concerns about possible misappropriation and misuse of public resources. It is crucial that a thorough investigation take place to determine whether these funds are being used for their intended purposes” HURIWA stated.
The rights group said the situation represented a grave offense against transparency and accountability, and as advocates for human rights and responsible governance, HURIWA was duty bound to denounce it unequivocally.
“A comprehensive and independent audit of all expenditures related to the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee to ensure full transparency and accountability
“We urge the government to reconsider the need for such a committee, especially in light of the FIRS’s existing mandate and capabilities.
“We call upon civil society, the media, and all concerned citizens to scrutinize and hold accountable those responsible for the allocation and use of public funds in this matter.”