The recently launched Whistle-Blower Initiative by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, has been described as an exemplary boost to the anti-corruption crusade.
A civil society organisation, Vanguard for Transparency and Accountability, which made the observation also lauded LIRS management for sustaining its pace-setting records in tax management reforms in Nigeria.
The President of the group, Paulycap Nnabuogor, said in a press statement, that the initiative which subjects the operations of LIRS to public scrutiny, will promote openness, accountability and ultimately enhance citizens’ participation in governance, boosting their trust in the activities of a sensitive agency of government.
Nnabuogor, expressed the conviction that the initiative is targeted at strengthening and re-invigorating frontiers in the fight against fraud and corruption and puts both the management and the staff of the agency on their toes to deliver their statutory roles in compliance with the global best practices.
He said, “We are not particularly surprised that the Lagos State government chose the LIRS as a pilot scheme for its Speak Up programme because of the reforms the Subair-led management of the revenue agency had carried out internally to boost its operations and enhance the capacity of its workforce. Undoubtedly, this initiative shows that the activities of civil society organisations like ours are beginning to bear fruit and Nigeria is the ultimate winner.
“Before the birth of the Whistle-Blower Initiative, we were aware of the efforts of the LIRS management to promote accountability within the system and the importance Subair particularly attached to the welfare of his staff. Our findings show that the LIRS maintained the payment of performance allowances to the staff, and doesn’t joke with the prompt release of other pay including wardrobe allowances, particularly to the staff at both the legal and relationships units all geared towards enhancement of performance.
“More so, we found out that the decision to introduce a computer-based test for promotion, which is handled by independent assessors, has encouraged high-fliers within the system to grow rapidly and underlined why the agency has maintained its status as the best-performing tax collecting board in the country. Subair’s Award of Recognition by the Joint Tax Board of Nigeria is a testimony of his achievements as the agency has always met its revenue target even during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Subair restated the commitment of the LIRS management to the welfare of its staff, strengthened by the belief that a motivated workforce will lead to greater productivity.
He said.” We take our workforce’s welfare and career development as a key metric in our journey to consistently deliver our statutory role as a revenue agency. In 2019, we approved a 70% salary increase for staff from Assistant Revenue Manager and below, and a 50% increase for Revenue Manager and above. This is the most significant salary review in the Agency to date. A total of 3,608 members of staff were promoted between 2017 to 2021 and all our staff do not pay for standard medical services.
“We also ensure that performance bonuses are paid to all staff, based on clearly defined and documented processes while Union dues are remitted timely and correctly with all other statutory deductions such as pensions.”
He added that the consequential adjustment of salaries has been agreed upon in principle and payment modalities are currently being worked out by management, stressing that all are geared toward ensuring that the agency serves the people of Lagos State effectively.