Posted by News Express | 9 May 2016 | 3,253 times
Immediate past Secretary to the Government of Imo State (SGI), Sir Jude Ejiogu, has suggested ways of increasing the internally generated revenue (IGR) of state governments to cushion the effects of the fall in oil prices. He pointed out that through the IGR boom, governments would be able to surmount various challenges confronting them economically.
Sir Ejiogu stated this in an article titled, “Strengthening the State Governments Through Improved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)”. According to him, most state governments have for decades ignored other revenue potentials available to them from enormously untapped human and natural resources, saying that over-dependence on revenue accruing from oil has beclouded their abilities to exploit other economic alternatives.
He regretted that since crude oil accounts for 90 percent of the country’s export and 85 percent of the government’s revenue which is tied on subsisting revenue sharing formula in a Federation that tilts more to the center, it follows that virtually all the states may have resorted to dependence on Federal allocations to survive instead of making a head way.
Sir Ejiogu, who has served as Chairman of Local Government Service Commission in Imo State, further listed the following: Personal Income Tax such as Pay-as-You Earn, Direct Taxation like Self Assessment, Withholding Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duties, Pools Betting, Lotteries, Gaming/Casino Taxes, Road Taxes, Development Levy, Right of Occupancy and Business Premises Regulation Fees in accordance with Act 21 of 1998 as sources of Internally Generated Revenue meant to be accessed by state governments in order to solve their enormous economic challenges.
According to the former Chief of Staff of Imo State Government, apart from Limestone, Marble, Kaolin and Granite which fall under the exclusive list in the 1999 Constitution as amended, there are other sources available to states which do not require Federal Government’s permission to exploit, advising that if properly utilised is capable of boosting the internally generated revenue profile of states.
He therefore suggested that good investments in Agriculture, Eco-tourism, Commerce, Industry, Transportation, Housing development, Upstream and Downstream sectors of oil/gas, and Power generation among others have the spiraling effect of reviving the suffocating economies of the states by creating employment opportunities and wealth while reducing crime rate in the society to its barest minimum.
Sir Ejiogu further expressed optimism that if the states’ internally generated revenue was improved, it would widen the space and allows governments to invest in road networks, stable water supply, improve sanitation, ensure security of lives and property as well as promote good transportation system for the people.
He said: “Apart from revenue for development, taxation strengthens governance in a way; since it flows from “citizens’ pocket”, the payment compels the masses to ask questions and show interest in how those entrusted with the management of the common wealth discharge such responsibility.”
Concluding, Sir Ejiogu suggested that state governments must work out a water-tight procedure for collecting accruable revenues, and check corruption in their revenue collection machinery and not just to curb tax evasion but to ensure that revenues collected find their way into genuine government’s coffers for development purposes in order to avoid leakages if they must achieve the task.
•Photo shows Sir Jude Ejiogu.
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