Wednesday, December 21, 2016 7:37 am
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
The government of Kogi State says the innovations it brought to its revenue generation and taxation has led to significant improvements in its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
This was disclosed to newsmen in Lokoja, the state capital, by Alh. Yakubu Oseni, the Executive Chairman, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, KSIRS,
Critical among the reforms he mentioned is the decision of the state Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello to grant the board full autonomy. Oseni averred that although the autonomy bill had been passed since 2013 by the State House of Assembly, lack of political will by the then government, prevented its implementation.
He said the dependent status of the then Kogi Board of Internal Revenue, KBIR was not in conformity with Joint Tax Board, JTB guidelines and gravely hampered its operations.
“The Board was granted autonomy by Governor Bello. The bill was passed in 2013. But due to lack of political will by the government, it was swept under the carpet. In order to encourage efficiency and effectiveness and in line with best global financial practices, the governor automatically approved our autonomy. It was formerly Board of Internal Revenue. Now it is Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, KSIRS.”
Oseni further said that the New Direction blueprint for the state’s development lays emphasis on science and information technology. He noted that his leadership has employed the tools to block leakages in the system which in turn doubled revenue generation in the state.
On how the reforms have impacted on revenue generation, he had this to say. “Everything has gestation period. As we speak we are already recording great improvements. We have blocked a lot of revenue leakages. As at today, we have doubled what we met on ground. But our target is actually to multiply what we met on ground. We are poised to achieve it”
TheNews recalls that the IGR of the state hovered between N300 million to N500 million monthly before inauguration of the Bello administration.
Other reforms introduced by the administration include complete automation of revenue collection, constant tax education, staff welfare and on-going construction of a multi million Naira ‘Kogi Revenue House.’
Before now, operations of the revenue board were analogue. So stone aged were its operations that a certain number of computers donated to it by a global agency, were simply dumped in the archives for lack of required personnel to man them.
“We discovered that those we met on ground were operating manually. They were operating analogue, to the point that some systems donated to the board by the project office of the World Bank were kept in the archives. In order to remedy the situation, the Governor approved the redeployment of the old staff to the office of the Head of Service and we replaced them with professionals. We did not sack anybody. They were just kind of transferred to other agencies where professionalism is not too required.” Oseni said.
The Executive Chairman explained further that with the reforms, the agency no longer handles cash directly. “We don’t deal with cash any longer. You pay to the bank and come here to get your e-receipt and subsequently your Tax Clearance Certificate, TCC. With the new system, we have reduced the tendency for staff to abuse cash.”