From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has expressed dismay at the rate at which revenue meant for the State government is being diverted through illegal collections, multiple taxation among others by several unapproved groups in the state.
This is contained in communique issues at the end of the stakeholders meeting on Revenue Generation held at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi on Tuesday.
The State Governor, Samuel Ortom while declaring the meeting open harped on the dire need for the State to improve on its Revenue Generation.
The Communique which was read to the hearing of all present by the Governor stated that the State Government through the Executive Council will without delay send an amendment to the State House of Assembly to plug the loopholes in the existing law that have left gaps for revenue leakages.
The communique added that all revenues collected by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) must be paid in to the State Consolidated Revenue Fund according to the law.
It also warned Local Government Chairmen to desist henceforth from multiple taxations in their council areas, thereby discouraging traders from coming into Benue State to buy produce which has led to waste and decline in internally generated revenue (IGR) base of the State.
The communique also advised MDAs who have formed the habit of diverting monies collected from PAYE to desist from such unwholesome practice as it contravenes the State revenue generation laws.
It also directed the dismantking of all illegal revenue collection checkpoints forthwith, warning that any person or group of persons caught operating such illegal revenue collection checkpoints shall be punished.
It added that, “the Office of the Secretary of the State Government (SSG) should convene a meeting between the Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) and Local Government Chairmen to know the revenue items accruing to local Government and State in order to streamline the collection of same.
“Any person irrespective of how highly placed you may be who violates the Revenue Law shall be sanctioned,” the communique concluded.