From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has expressed worry over what it called drastic leakages and drop in the state Internally Generated revenue (IGR).
According to the Assembly members, the poor rating of the state IGR second only to the troubled Borno State is disturbing due to the rising need for the state to source for funds to finance development projects.
Hon. Oyinke Godbless (Sagbama 1) who moved the motion on the state of IGR on the floor of the House raised the need to re-energise the IGR apparatus for improved service delivery and blockage of leakages.
He argued that it is disturbing that the 2020 National Bureau of Statistic mid-year IGR report rank Bayelsa 26th among all states of the Federation, just a step above war torn Borno State.
Other lawmakers who spoke of the depressing state of the IGR included Hon. Tare Porri(Ekeremor 1), Hon. Tonye Isenah (Kolga 1), Hon. Mieteme Obodor(Ogbia 1), Hon. Koku Obiya Ebiowo(Yenagoa 3), Hon. Salo Adiekumo (Sagbama 3) , Hon. Bernard Kenebai (Sagbama 2), Chief Douglas Awululu (Nembe 3),Hon. Oboku Oforji (Yenagoa 1) and Hon. Wisdom Fafi (Kolga 2).
The motion reads in part: “Aware that in recent years, there seem to have been an increase in IGR in the state from about N70 million to N16billion per annum, but. interestingly, P. A. Y. E tax account for more that 80 per cent while other sectors like Direct Assessment, Road Taxes, MDAs and other taxes has seen only marginal increase.
“ Concerned that the medium term expenditure framework(MTEF) submitted to this House of Assembly gives a pessimistic outlook on IGR increment over the coming three years and the worry on the reported revenue leakages either from corrupt practices by contractors or tax managers of our IGR apparatus”
The House members noted with concern the fact that the revenue base is made up of 85 per cent PAYE tax and 15 per cent tax from private business owners in the state, the State cannot be robbing Peter to pay Paul in the area of providing basic amenities in the state.
The lawmakers therefore unanimously agreed to invite the revenue collectors and the State Revenue board to a joint Committee of the House and find a way to improve the internal revenue of the state.
A member of the Assembly representing Ekeremor 1 and Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Tare Porri described the motion as timely and a welcome development.
The House members led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ngobere agreed in a resolution to summon the Chairman of the State Revenue Board, Dr. Nibofa Ayawei to appear before the joint House Committee on Finances, Public Accounts and Revenue.