|William Babatunde Fowler|
We had written about the likelihood of the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, who also doubles as the Chairman of Joint Tax Board in the person of Mr. Babatunde Fowler becomimg the next Governor of the Apex Bank in Nigeria a few days back and some had expressed their opinions as per what they thought about it. One particular person we had spoken to raised a point saying anyone that must be in charge at the CBN, must be someone that has, one, a banking background and two must also be someone who has a fantastic grasp, knowledge and understanding of the economy and policies of the country amongst several other things needed. And we quite agree too with all of that and more.
But before we go on, it must be well stated here, that this write up here is strictly our opinion and that it wasn’t sponsored by anyone, neither was it engineered by any individual or groups of people. And we know very very well that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, allows us to have our own opinion and allows us the opportunity to also express freely that opinion as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights others.
So away from the above. If one of the major requirements needed for anyone to become the next Governor of Nigeria’s number 1 Bank is banking experience, then having spent not less than 2 decades at 2 banks rising to the level of a General Manager, before quitting to join the public service then Mr. Fowler is very well qualified then. For 6 years (84 to 90), Mr. Fowler worked at Commercial Bank (Credit Lyonnais) becoming the Branch Manager of the only branch of that Bank outside her HQ. Then for the next 14 years of his life, he worked at Chartered Bank, where he came in as a senior manager, but left as a General Manager of that same bank after achieving so much. Part of these was helping to increase the branch network of Chartered Bank then, from 2 to 11, in just 5 years! Not to talk of loads of other things he did too. He made Chartered Bank of the top 3 banks in the country in terms of revenue collection for the states and Federal Government agencies.
When he left the private sector to move to the public sector by working for Lagos State for all of 9 years till 2015, he led the LIRS to break every records available and conceivable in revenue generation via tax collection. People generally look at it like, there wasn’t anything so extraordinary about what he did or was able to achieve. But for one to have led an organisation, an autonomous government parastatal that helped to shoot what was accruing to that government of a state from [3.6billion monthly to 23 billion monthly], that is something that is unbelievably extraordinary at least to us. To even add to that, if it were so so easy like some have come to claim, how come prior to him coming on board the people there before didn’t do a quarter of what he now came to do later.
It was because of his exemplary feat and service to Lagos State, that the Federal government thought it best to see if he could come replicate what he did in Lagos at the Federal level too and truth be said, he hasn’t failed at all. For it has been garlands upon garlands, achievements upon achievements since he came on board in 2015. Here is a man that his work and feats have spoken for him. Just like the scriptures has said, in Proverbs 18:16 A man’s gift makes room for him, and bringeth him before great men. It’s not a matter of rhetoric for Mr. William Babatunde Fowler, but of actions.
Just imagine that N5.32 trillion was what the FIRS contributed to the nation in 2018 alone, that’s N1.292 trillion more than what they collected in 2017 (which was N3.3 trillion. That amount 5.3 trillion, is the highest ever collected in the history of Nigeria. And it must be well stated that the revenue has been increasing annually since he came on board. It must also be well noted that, this is part of the funds shared by the 3 tiers of Government annually. And for 2019 alone, the target is N8 trillion Naira. So from the foregoing then, If one is good at what he or she does, the person must be well commended and compensated then.
For someone who has done exceptionally well like he has done already at the assignment that was given to him, surpassing all expectations so glaringly, just imagine then what sanity and revolutionary approach he would bring to bear at the apex bank of and when appointed.. Especially as the current Governor’s 1 term tenure would soon be coming to an end. To show how exceptionally good Babatunde Fowler is, even the “African Tax Administration Forum”, a body that comprises of all the tax czar in the 38 countries of Africa recognises that he is a guru par excellence, as he is leading them again on a 2nd term of another 2 years till 2020. He was reelected unopposed by all the 26 members that participated in the election.
So it’s like putting a round peg in a round hole. Like we have always said, “who the cap fits, let them wear it”.
William Babatunde Fowler is the man for the job.