By Nkem Precious
For the suave and urbane Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Mamman Nami service of God and humanity flows naturally. For that reason, he goes about his duties quietly and diligently. Notwithstanding his modesty, Nami was singled out for two ranking awards from reputable organisations last week. The nation’s chief tax collector was honoured at two separate events. First was the BusinessDay Excellence in Public Service Award conferred on him on Thursday 4 May 2023 in Abuja. The second was the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Merit Award which he won two days later on Saturday 6 May.
Upon assumption of office as the Executive Chairman of the FIRS in 2019, Nami has been going about his duty with uncommon determination, focus and vitality. Within the relatively few years of his tenure as the head of the nation’s biggest tax agency, he has raised the bar of leadership by posting many remarkable achievements.
The latest meritorious garland was bestowed on him at the 2023 annual awards of ICAN which took place at the Monarch Event Centre, Lagos, on Saturday 6 May, 2023. Nami who was honoured in the non-members category at the event, was described by the President of ICAN, Mr Tijani Musa Isa, as a self-effacing and humble achiever who has steered the FIRS to excel in the national and international tax circle despite global economic recession.
While eulogising the nation’s number one tax chief for achieving several milestones in revenue collection, the ICAN President said the Merit Award is in recognition of Muhammad Nami’s positive impact in the society stressing that he has made significant contributions to the institute and to Nigeria. “The governing board deemed it fit to acknowledge the role you (Nami) have played and your outstanding achievements,” Isa emphasised.
Muhammad Nami’s virtues as a leader imbued with exemplary and rare professional moral fibre were further captured in the citation read at the ICAN event, in which he was aptly described as “a go-getter and an ingenious leader.”
The impactful reforms which he is implementing at FIRS did not escape the attention of the Institute as they were acknowledged as eloquent attestations to his dexterity, visionary leadership and patriotism. The citation took cognitive note of the fact that under his visionary leadership, the FIRS in 2022 achieved an unprecedented revenue collection of N10.1 trillion, the highest tax collection ever made in the annals of the country.
At a similar event two days earlier in the same week, the FIRS boss was named the winner of the BusinessDay Excellence in Public Service Award 2022. The event took place on Thursday 4 May, 2023 at the BusinessDay States Competitiveness and Good Governance Awards.
BusinessDay Newspaper explained that it named him the winner of the award for his “visionary and leadership qualities [that] have brought tremendous change to the FIRS.”
It underscored Muhammad Nami’s landmark achievements by transforming the tax administration and compliance landscape in Nigeria. Prominent on the checklist of his strides in the transformative aspect is the introduction of the revolutionary TaxPro Max which is FIRS’ home-grown digital platform for tax administration. The hugely successful digital platform allows taxpayers to register, file returns and pay their taxes easily from any location other than their respective tax offices. TaxPro Max has proved an effective antidote to the delays and frustrations usually associated with the labyrinthine wholly manual process of the past that often lent itself to leakages, delays and frustrations.
BusinessDay commended Muhammad Nami for repositioning the operations and staff of the FIRS, as well as introducing technological tools to institute more transparency, accountability, and effectiveness, which in turn has translated into increased capacity to deliver on the mandate with outstanding results.
The Executive Chairman’s response after receiving the ICAN Merit Award captured his professional trajectory from a humble beginning through the rungs to the higher rungs of professional excellence. He summed his professional odyssey this way: ”Since I left the university, over 32 years ago, I have had the privilege and luck to be directly and indirectly associated with ICAN members: from the PKF, to Manam Professional Services, and now I am working directly with well over 3,000 members of this Institute as the Executive Chairman of the FIRS.”
He went on to dedicate the award to his alma maters (from primary to tertiary levels), his former colleagues at the Presidential Committee on Audit of Stolen Recovered Stolen Assets, members of the Tax Advisory Committee of the FIRS, all taxpayers, FIRS board members, management and staff of the FIRS plus his family members.
A rundown of Muhammad Nami’s rich profile reveals a man who is properly trained and honed in the fields of tax, accounting and management. He is a thoroughbred professional with highly rated qualifications and practicing licenses from relevant professional bodies.
An accountant, management professional, tax administrator and public officer, Muhammad Nami has more than three decades of practical working experience in auditing, tax management and advisory as well as management services to clients in the banking, manufacturing services and public sectors in addition to non- profit organisations.
He is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new businesses. He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy.
A fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, the FIRS boss is also an Associate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and a graduate member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
Like the great oak that grew from little acorns, Muhammad Nami started his career with PKF in 1993 and rose to the position of a senior consultant in charge of tax management and advisory services. From October, 2018 to December, 2019, he also served as the Managing Consultant of Manam Professional Services, a Chartered Tax Practitioners and Advisers firm that had offices in Kaduna, Abuja and Minna.
He is the current President of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA). He is the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), a statutory position he holds as the Executive Chairman of the FIRS. He is the immediate past Chairman of the African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF). These roles have invariably conferred on him the need to contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria, Africa and the commonwealth nations.
As a proactive and innovative leader, he has since proved bookmakers right that he is more than equal to the task. The reforms he is implementing at FIRS attest to his dexterity, visionary leadership and patriotism. Under his visionary leadership, the FIRS in 2022 achieved an unprecedented revenue collection of N10.1 trillion, which is the highest tax collection ever made in the history of the country.
Recently, he earned accolades for audacious deployment of technology as well as the introduction of unprecedented reforms in Nigeria’s tax administration including data mining and strategic intelligence gathering for improved revenue generation.
His sterling leadership and impressive scorecard have earned him and the FIRS several other awards. For instance, in October 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred on him the Excellence in Public Service Award for Fiscal reforms at the FIRS while he also received the Leadership Newspaper Public Servant of the Year Award for 2022.
Muhammad Nami’s exemplary leadership style has greatly helped to galvanise and motivate the management and entire workforce of the FIRS to be disciplined and amenable to basic etiquette of the Service.
The fact that he is a man driven by ideas and positive results is attested to by the regular on-the-job training and brainstorming sessions he organises at the FIRS. He is a modern era leader that is never weary of updating and introducing result-yielding innovative ideas and techniques.
Among other contributory factors to the astounding success of Muhammad Nami at the FIRS are his humble and honest attributes. Beneath the veneer of his gentle mien is the steely quality of a leader who does not compromise integrity and value in the discharge of duty. Certainly, the FIRS under the clear-headed, confident and chivalrous leadership of Muhammad Nami is destined for more plumage of honours and awards.