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Gov. Yahaya Bello cannot succeed without a revenue boost

01 March 2016, 14:14 Hussain Obaro

The fact that most countries of the world are focusing on tax collection to boost revenue generation as a result of the dwindling prices of crude oil in the last couple of years is no longer news. Governments have being reforming and strengthening their tax collection system and putting in place new tax regimes in order to ensure maximum efficiency and availability of funds to deliver the much craved dividends of democracy. In Kogi state, past administrations have not been able to effectively take advantage of the huge potential of revenue accruable from tax collection in the state partly due to the over reliance on the oil money from Abuja and due to the fact that they lacked the needed political will to ensure that the right people mans the state revenue service.                                      

It is unfortunate that instead of investing the state’s resources in productive ventures that could further boost revenue generation people who have found themselves in positions of authority at different time resorted to sharing the state's funds among the “eating class” with little or no consideration to the wellbeing of the state’s populace and the need to rescue them from the bondage of extreme poverty and hunger. Now that we are blessed with a seasoned accountant as Governor of the state, who has got a vast experience in revenue collection, having worked as a revenue officer with the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). The hope is that the political will to properly restructure and reform the state’s revenue service for maximum service delivery will be summoned without any further delay.                                             

With the vast array of human and natural resources the state is blessed with, it is shameful that we have always had to rely on monthly allocations from the Federal Government before we can pay salaries, allowances and pensions. As a matter of fact, a monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of about 5 billion naira is needed to put the state on a sound footing of economic progression, industrial revolution and fulfillment of the campaign promises of the present administration in the state. Generating 5 billion naira through tax collection alone may seem impossible considering where we are coming from and the fact the what is presently garnered from tax is nothing to write home about. But what neighboring states have done in terms of reforming their tax system should given hope to us in Kogi state that we can effectively block all revenue leakages and if the right people who would bring new innovations and reforms into revenue generation and tax collection are employed and are given the free hand to deliver.

Ours is a state where owners of big and medium scale businesses either evade taxes at will or the stipend they pay finds its way into the wrong pockets. Kogites are not properly and duly enlightened about the fact that it is their civic responsibility to pay taxes as at when due and the need for them to put their money where their mouth is. A lot of foreigners and non indigenes who have businesses in the state are being exploited by top politicians and traditional rulers who instead of encouraging them to remit their taxes into the government coffers would rather give them their account numbers and intimidate them into paying huge sums into such accounts to the detriment of the overall development of the state.                                                                                      

The need for Kogi state to enact new tax regime and laws through the state house of Assembly has become inevitable at this crucial moment of economic recession. The state’s revenue service needed to be further strengthened with the establishment of Revenue Court that will have a mandate to try tax evaders and offenders in record time so as to serve as deterrents to would be tax defaulters. Businesses and investments across the state need to be protected against the undue exploit of criminally minded individual who uses their position and influence to defraud the state government. This administration cannot succeed without a boost in revenue generation through an effective tax collection.    

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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