By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
The Committee empanelled by the Niger State Government about three months ago to work out ways to improve the state’s Internally Generated Revenue has recommended that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello should serve as the number one Tax Officer for the state.
The committee headed by the Vice Chancellor of the state owned university, the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai had in its’ recommendations noted that with the state Governor onboard the state’s revenue board, observed areas of leakages and shortcomings would be nibbed.
The committee also suggested that the state would rake in more revenue if the existing revenue generating nets were well knitted, expanded and well policed to guard against leakages and pilfering.
It said the state could only be financially sound if the mechanism for information flow in the state was effectively managed to ensure proper monitoring and check systematic leakages in government’s businesses.
Chairmen of the committee, Prof. Muhammad Nasir Maiturare disclosed while presenting the report of his committee to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello that revenue generation in the state have been hamstrung with defects through successive regimes in the state.
Professor Maiturare argued that with its’ array of huge human capital and vast agricultural endowment, the state has the potentials and capacity to improve on its IGR based on its available human and material resources.
He divulged that the committee had made far reaching recommendations on the way forward based on its’ fact finding studies and visits to some states like Lagos, Kaduna and Kano who have articulated plans for internally generated revenue in their states.
The report said the committee had found out that the state’s Internally Generated Revenue was being clipped by some human and procedural defects which includes inappropriate determination of taxable income system, narrow tax windows coupled with poor information flow/dissemination among other factors.
According to him “low IGR could also be pinned to poor information flow and systemic leakages within the state’s Internal Revenue Service, (IRS) just as he noted that above all, the state has some untapped users’ charges that have the potentials to boost cash flow into the state treasury”.
In the cause of the committee’s assignment and visits to Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and Edo states to understudy their Internal Revenue Service, “we made startling discoveries which are pertinent for us to introduce to our own system” he said.
The report therefore suggested that for a new and effective tax regime, the state Governor should serve as the state’s Chief Tax Officer to give bite to the drive to have a foul proof revenue generating mechanism in the state.
“We suggest that Governor Bello himself should serve as a rallying point for tax advocacy in the state by engaging stakeholders such as the business community, religious and traditional leaders with a view to raising their consciousness in their civic responsibilities”.
Governor Bello while appreciating the committee for a job well executed, assured that the government will ensure full implementation of the committee’s recommendations on how to reposition the state’s Internally Generated Revenue system.
Governor Bello said the state would explore all necessary avenues to ensure that it rakes in more revenue from within rather than continue to depend on handouts from the Federal government.
He noted that every necessary legal step would be taken to ensure adherence to the committee’s recommendations even as he stressed that government was committed to doing all that was humanly possible to improve the state’s IGR.
To give force to the administration’s resolve, Governor Bello promptly raised another committee to be headed by the state Commissioner for Finance, Ibrahim Balarabe to implement the recommendations of the Maiturare led committee.
He charged them to fashion out workable modalities for the actualisation of set objectives in order to reduce dependence on monthly statutory subventions from the Federal government.
Though the new benchmark for the state’s revenue board was not made public by the report of the committee, Governor Bello however hinted that the monthly target for the state’s revenue board has been raised as he noted that “henceforth when i see something in the range of 2 billion naira in a month, then i know there would be much work for us to do” thus implying that the benchmark for the revenue board is targeted at higher figures.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.