By James Eze (email@example.com)
The Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano has set a revenue target of N2.2bn for the state in the 2016 fiscal year.
Speaking at the inaugural edition of the Internally Generated Revenue Summit organised in collaboration with Fidelity Bank Plc in Awka on Tuesday, Governor Obiano revealed that the state had concluded plans to roll out specially adapted Point of Sale (POS) devices that would facilitate the realisation of this target through efficient capture of revenue collection.
Assuring that Anambra State would hit the N2.2bn monthly revenue target without increasing taxes, Governor Obiano explained that he plans to sanitize the revenue collection process and weed out fraudsters who pose as collection agents to confuse tax payers.
Said he: “This year, we intend to move our IGR from N1.4bn where it is currently to about N2.2bn monthly. And I believe it is doable. We will do this without increasing tax. We will not increase tax but we are going to enhance our method of collection and block the leakages. Most of our taxes have been going into private pockets. This time, I will clean up the system.”
Throwing more light on the pathetic state of international oil markets and its drastic impact on the revenue that accrues to states from the federal government, Governor Obiano said; “If I was receiving N100 from the Federal Government, I now receive N27,” and regretted that only four states currently pay salaries to workers as and when do in the country.
“So, what is the magic of paying salaries and trying to complete the flyovers and doing all the major projects that we are doing in the state? In accounting when you are faced with this type of situation, you do a number of things; first is to reduce cost significantly, plug all the loopholes that create unnecessary expenditure. Second is that you must increase your internally generated revenue. If you do that, you will survive. If you don’t, you will have a difficult time.”
Emphasizing the importance of the Summit, the governor expressed confidence in the capacity of Fidelity Bank to make the training an enriching experience for the state revenue officials that participated in the exercise.
Governor Obiano however appealed to the traditional rulers and market associations to assist the government in sensitizing the people on the imperatives of paying the necessary taxes and levies. “On our own part we shall ensure that we eliminate the fake collectors that confuse the tax paying public. In a few days we shall introduce POS into our revenue collection. We want to eliminate cash handling in the collection process and that will go a long way to plugging the loopholes that we currently have in the revenue collection system,” he declared.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo explained that the primary Objective of the Summit was to foster the socio-economic development of the state.
According to him; “this event could not have come at a better time, given the present economic situation of the country precipitated by the free fall in global oil prices. This has drastically reduced the monthly federal allocations to both state and local governments. In view of this, all tiers of government are re-tooling alternative sources of revenue generation to meet their financial obligations and live up to the expectations of their citizens.”
Mr. Okonkwo further observed that following the ongoing reforms in various sectors of the Nigerian economy, Anambra state government is determined to explore all sources of revenue generation available to it and pointed out that as a bank, Fidelity is eagerly looking forward to building a veritable partnership with the government to aid its collection of such revenues and help improve its Internally Generated Revenue.
Mr. Okonkwo also noted that Fidelity had continued to play a dominant role in Electronic Payments and Services Market recalling that the Bank was a pioneer in the 1997 FIRS Collections and 2005 Agencies Collections.
According to him, “Over the years, Fidelity Bank has not only garnered massive experience assisting governments generate revenue but also recorded remarkable success in a number of states. From 2005 till date, our cumulative collections using the PayDirect platform is estimated at N300 billion.”
The bank chief also called on the people of Anambra state to join hands with the Chief Willie Obiano government in its efforts to make Anambra State a better state that would be a reference point for all other states in Nigeria.