His Excellency Umaru Tanko Almakura has called for better tax remittance from the citizens of Nasarawa State , urging them to see taxes paid as a means of contributing to the development and sustenance of the State through growth of Internal Generated Revenue of the State.
Gov. Almakura made the call a he received a courtesy call from the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and the Joint Tax Board (JTB) at the Government House, Lafia .
Governor appealed to the people for cooperation and understanding on essence of tax , which would enable them be part of the system and enable them ask questions about the uses of the taxes being paid.
The Governor described Nasarawa state as being in the last three states who received the lowest .allocations from the Federal Government , stating that it was time to look inwards towards enhancing the state revenue generation , which would enable the state provide the basic needed infrastructure to the people .
Gov. Almakura stated that when he came into office in 2011 the state was receiving barely one point five billion Naira yearly, hardly generating one hundred and fifty million a month, where they were faced with the closeness to the FCT where infrastructure put up to serve three hundred thousand people has been stretched to serve almost three million people. Explaining that most of the people pay their taxes elsewhere (PAYE), while they reside in Nasarawa State and are serviced by Nasarawa State .
Governor Almakura disclosed that state was putting in place some things to revolutionize the state tax system ,presenting what he labeled the article of faith of tax collection 1. The will to explore opportunity to collect tax , 2. To reform the tax system from the analog to something more versatile , 3. We have to professionalize tax collection , 4. Automation of systems, 5 . Autonomy . He said sincerity and accountability by the people who man the system was also a major factor,
He state that the state government had taken the bull by the
horns and were completely reforming the tax system by bringing in someone new
who was conversant with modern tax collection to the Board of Internal Revenue ,
where he was sure with his experience and pedigree he would fast-track revenue
collection in the state .
Lastly the Governor said he cherished the visit and motives of the visit , assuring them of the professionalism of the state taxes , stating that the state had jumped from N3. 4 billion in 2016 to N6. 2 billion in 2017 confident that it was just the beginning as he was very confident with the new IGR Chairman they would target between N12 – N15 billion by next year.
Speaking Earlier the Director General of the Nigerian Governor Forum Asishana Okauru spoke on the significant macroeconomic and fiscal imbalances the country was experiencing which had affected the federal allocation to states.
The DG stated that development cannot be achieved without
sufficient domestic revenue mobilization which would ensure that the state
transits to fiscal sustainability
He commended Nasarawa state for its 81% increase in revenue and the ambitious target of N12billion , with focus on priority areas of collection including stamp duties, PAYE, withholding tax and land fees.
The DG described the strengthening of the state overall tax system as one of the most sustainable routs to proving the investment needs in priority sectors .
Also speaking the Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board
Oseni Elamah mni who spoke on various issues like Tax Education and
Enlightenment describing the concept of tax was at the core of the social
contract between the citizen and the State and as such, the citizenry needs to
be educated on their obligations to the State. Tax education helps the citizens
to realize that by complying with their tax obligations, they are indeed
reinforcing their right to demand for accountability from the State. This
enlightenment needs to be taken to the grassroots of every nook and cranny of
Tax education and enlightenment is not necessarily directed at the taxpayer alone, it is directed at all relevant stakeholders that operate within the process of the tax cycle.
Executive Secretary stated they were committed towards ensuring that they provide the required support for States in effectively taking the desired measures to shore up their IGR as we believe that it is the most viable and sustainable way of ensuring government funding and promoting inclusive growth and development for the citizens
Delivering the Vote of Thanks the Executive Chairman Nasarawa State Internal Revenue Service Alh. Ahmed Yakubu Muhammad commended the Nasarawa state Governor for his commitment and support to the Board which included the allocation of a new office known as Revenue House to be remodeled into a modern Tax Office.
Appreciating the political will of the Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura the Executive Chairman made it known that encouraging voluntary compliance was also an answer to today’s quest for improved revenue generation and enhanced service delivery in fulfillment of the social contract with the electorates “seeing is Believing “ which was being experienced in Nasarawa State as a clear testimony of effective utilization of Taxpayers’ money .
Lastly Alh. Muhammad disclosed that the state was in talks with the Joint Tax Board towards recovery of some Nasarawa state funds trapped with FCT workers living in Karu and environs that were to pay tax to Nasarawa state .