The Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, has charged the Joint Tax Board to champion the move for the States Internal Revenue Service to improve their revenue generation mechanisms so as to raise the desired revenue that would enable State Governments to become financially sound and less dependent on the lean resources from the Federal Government.

The Governor, who gave the charge while declaring open the 141st Meeting of the Joint Tax Board held in the Coal City of Enugu said, this was necessary considering the volatile and dwindling nature of oil revenue, which has been the main source of funding for the Federal Government coupled with the ever increasing need to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the citizenry.

He noted that it was indeed high time for government at all levels to look inwards with a view to finding more viable and sustainable means of funding projects that would enhance the living standards of the citizenry, as well as close the increasing funding gap created by insufficient nature of Federal allocations.

Rt. Hon Ugwuanyi lamented that increasing dependency on oil money has seriously negated innovations and utilization of abundant resources that would bring fortunes not just to the States but to the country at large.

He added that the Joint Tax Board, being the umbrella body of tax authorities in the country, should advise State Governments on reforms that would ensure rapid transformation in the nation’s tax system and administration for optimum revenue generation that would provide enough funds for the execution of viable projects that have direct positive bearing on the lives of the citizenry.

The Governor emphasised the need for the intervention of the JTB in ensuring that federal agencies in States remit their employees’ taxes as and when due to enable States meet their objectives.

He expressed happiness with the choice of the Coal City to serve as the venue of the Board’s 141st meeting as well as the choice of the theme of the meeting: “Leveraging on ICT for efficient Tax Administration and Revenue enhancement: Focusing on States Internal Revenue Service”, which he said was very apt especially considering the significant role ICT plays in ensuring effectiveness and efficiency in the System.

He urged tax authorities in the country to leverage on ICT in checking irregularities and other vices that are inimical to the tax system in Nigeria.

Earlier, in his speech, the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, said the Joint Tax Board is vigorously pursuing and implementing reforms and initiatives aimed at bringing the nation’s tax system in sync with the global trend.

According to him, some of these initiatives include increased collaboration, exchange of information, Joint Audit exercise and embracing of automation among the tax authorities with a view to checking the negative vices bedevilling the system and ensuring rapid transformation of the system.

He noted that the environment of domestic and international taxation is undergoing dynamic changes that is not unrelated to the evolution of ICT. This development, coupled with the volume of borderless financial transactions, increasing sophistication of tax evasion and avoidance, require that tax authorities must adopt measures to block the leakages and opportunities available to tax evaders, as well as ensure that the revenue due to the Government get to government coffers.

Mr. Fowler noted that to be effective under the prevailing circumstances, tax authorities especially at State levels must embrace technology. Therefore, there is a growing need for States to invest heavily in critical ICT infrastructure, both software and hardware, as well as the human capacity that will drive it.

The Chairman commended the efforts of the Enugu State Government for the political will accorded the State Internal Revenue Service, which has manifested in over a 54% growth of the State Internally Generated Revenue Annual Profile in 2017 over 2016

He urged the management and staff of the Enugu State IRS to redouble efforts in generating more Government revenue to enable the State Government execute more laudable projects that will impact positively on the lives of the citizenry in the State.

In his address, the Executive Secretary, Joint Tax Board, Oseni Elamah, mni, said the theme of the meeting was carefully selected with a view to bringing to the fore the importance of information communications technology in ensuring efficiency in tax administration especially now that  more sustainable means of generating funding are required by governments to cater for the yearnings and aspiration of the people.

He urged tax authorities in the country to brace up and face the challenges for the betterment of the system and the nation at large.


Scroll Up