Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Governors of Edo, Kwara and Kaduna have said that they recorded approximately 400, 350, 150 percent increase respectively in internally generated revenue from 2015 to 2017.
While Edo moved from N600 million to N2.4 billion, Kwara from N600 million to N2.2 billion and moved from N11.8 billion to N24.5 billion.
Governors Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Malam Nasir El-Rufai, (Kaduna), spoke at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat 4th annual National Peer Learning Event, held on Wednesday in Abuja.
Obaseki, in his presentation on “Mobilising Domestic Financing for Development” said his state had increased its monthly IGR from N600 million to N2.4 billion currently earned.
Obasaki said what the state did was to engage revenue agents, consolidate collection into a single account and to use technology to drive both assessment and collections.
He who said that plan of the state was to grow its IGR by 50 per cent year on year.
“Hopefully within the next three months we will have double our IGR from its current N2 billion naira per month to about 44.5 billion per month.’’
The governor added that the state IGR was linked to its infrastructure development plan, saying “you cannot improve IGR if there is no economic growth and one of the key drivers of economic growth is infrastructure.
“When you build roads, schools, hospitals, things that aid and enable businesses, you begin to see economic growth.
“As people do well, income goes up and businesses grow, then you have a basis to levy taxes which you will now has to improve the state.’’
Ahmed on his part disclosed that Kwara Statebachieve growth in its average monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N600 million in 2015 to N2.2 billion at the first quarter of 2018.
He said that state was in 2014 confronted by difficult economic challenges on account of significant drop in generated revenue and development in the global economy which impacted its revenue negatively.
Ahmed added that in that year, the defunct Kwara State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) was averaging about N600 million, which was incapable of augmenting allocations to pay salaries or fund the state infrastructure.
“In that same year, a study of the infrastructure needs of Kwara State indentified a N255 billion gap.
“This discovery led to the Kwara State Infrastructure and Financing Strategy, a comprehensive and targeted plan to systematically the infrastructure deficit.”
This, he said made the state government to embark on urgent financing strategies and reforms in its revenue generation.
These include the passage of the necessary laws, signing of the Kwara State Revenue Administration Law, and replacing the state BIR with Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS).
“Based on these challenges, KWIRS achieved growth in the monthly in the monthly as of 2015 to a monthly average of N1.45 billion in 2016, a monthly average of 1.75 billion at the end 2016, and a monthly average of 2.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
“On account of these growths in our internal revenue, we have consistently been able to augment monthly federal allocation to ensure prompt payment of salaries.
“It also help to fund major projects, introduce new ones and pay office existing debts owed to contractors in the state.’’
Ahmed stressed that it was incumbent on all stakeholders in the governance of states to strike the necessary balance between economic and social costs of generating increased internal revenue through taxes, fees, levies and fines.
He said that was necessary as the nation prepares for a new minimum wage law which was expected to put even greater strain on states’ finances.
El-Rufai, in his part said that the state had grow its monthly generated revenue 11.8 billion in 2015 when we took over to a total of 26.5billion in 2017.
“In 2015 we collected a total 11.8billion naira, in 2015 it jumped to N22.5b which was the first year of implementation of tax code, in 2016 it rose to N26.5b and in 2018 as at the end of October we have collected 24.5 billion.
The Kaduna Governor listed some of the steps taken to increase to state IGR was to establish a tax code, update and consolidate the state tax laws from 1914 to date, as well as engaging consultants’ service to reform the state tax agency.
He said that also include establishment of a new revenue collection agency, eliminated cash collection as well constituted Joint Tax Board between the state and its local government.
El-Rufai said that the objective of the state was to live within its means, but when he took over government was 800 to 900 million per month, while the state recurrent expenditure every month was at least N3 billion.