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Anambra assembly decries revenue leakages, officials involvement

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By Favour Goodness

The Anambra State Assembly Committee on Internally Generated Revenue has decried leakages orchestrated by powerful agents “revenue lords” milking the state accruing revenue.

The commitee accused the revenue lords of diverting the state’s internally generated revenue to personal use in such ventures as building hotels, houses and buying other personal properties at detriment of the state.

The committee made the observation during budget bilateral discussions with officials from the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS).

Deputy chairman of the committee and member representing Nnewi-North state constituency, Hon. Smart Okafor berated the way and manner in which revenues were being collected in the state.

Okafor, who presided over the budget discussions with officials of the state revenue agency, noted that revenue scavengers were everywhere across the state, molesting and extorting money from citizens on grounds of being authorised by government to unleash terror and mayhem on the people.

The lawmaker maintained that the irony of the whole situation was that the huge sums of revenue being collected do not get into government coffers.

Instead, they ended up in private accounts while the state is grossly shortchanged.

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He said, “There are a lot of cases where revenue scavengers chased motorists in the name of collecting revenue from the driver and the driver in a bid to avoid them kills someone.”

The committee however assured the revenue agency of enacting legislation that would put revenue lords in jail, adding that revenue collection in the state should be done in a more decent manner and not some atavistic manner.

The committee also opined that people should be able to get corresponding services when they pay revenues; that the legislature would also assist to ensure the agency got more releases in the coming year to enable it to perform with greater efficiency.

The committee also pointed out that markets had been saturated with all manner of tickets and that some people claimed to have authority letters from government to collect revenues whereas they did so for their own personal accounts while pittances were remitted to government.

The aforesaid development, according to him, would necessitate a law to checkmate leakages in revenue collections.

He said a situation where revenue lords would build all kinds of hotels with tax payers money was uncalled for.

Okafor also believed that the idea of people going to buy authority letters to enable them to collect money from one point to another and in a month make about N10,000,000 and remit just about N300,000 to government account was an aberration and that such anomaly has to stop forthwith to enable the state to have enough money for economic development.

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He said the committee also observed that the revenue agency projected N36 billion for 2021, but as at October this year, generated only N19 billion, reason being that they didn’t have enough budget releases to print demand notices to boost revenue drive.

The revenue agency also told the committee that it had to reduce its target from N36 billion to N31 billion in 2022 to make it more realistic while the committee admonished the state government to fashion out a way of funding the State Board of Internal Revenue to create the enabling environment for people to pay their taxes and levies in a more decent manner.

That government should also clear all revenue scavengers on the roads, markets and elsewhere as they constitute serious menace to members of the public

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