THE Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Mr. Tunde Fowler, yesterday, advised state governors to empower State Internal Revenue Services (SIRS) by making them autonomous.
Fowler who is also the chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), gave the advice at the 137th meeting of the JTB in Ilorin, according to a statement endorsed by Director of Communications and Servicom at FIRS, Wahab Gbadamosi.
Autonomy, Fowler said, is the key to professionalism and generation of more revenue. “The good work that you are doing is evident in the performance of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS). It is good enough for others to follow. We commend the work that KWIRS is doing and agreed amongst ourselves to adopt is as a model. Like I often tell my colleagues, we members of JTB must not disappoint Nigerians.
“I like you to call on other governors, your colleagues in other states who have not taken the bold step to please do and give autonomy to SIRS. Please help us to convey this to them as an ambassador and tell other governors,” Fowler said.
He also called on JTB members to intensify efforts towards meeting revenue targets. Fowler commended Ahmed for growing the internally generated revenue of Kwara State.
“I like to commend the efforts of the executive governor in transforming the KSRS. It is on record that the state annual Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) grew from N7.1billion in 2015 to N17.2billion in 2016. I therefore, urge the service not to relent in its efforts and continue to work hard to justify the encouragement received by the state government,” Fowler said.
The meeting had: Collaboration amongst tax Authorities: Its Impact on Revenue Generation and Service Delivery to Taxpayers as its theme.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who declared the meeting open, told the 36 chairmen of the SIRS that KWIRS’ ability to grow Kwara’s annual (IGR)from N7.1billion in 2015 to N17.2billion in 2016 is predicated on people, processes and technology.
He noted that Kwara’s IGR moved from N600 million in 2015 prior to autonomy to N1.5 billion monthly, with increase of about N17.4 billion in 2016. “As you are aware, the Kwara State government signed the Kwara State Revenue Administration Law No. 6 of 2015 on June 22, 2015. Ever since, the face of revenue administration has witnessed significant changes that started with the complete change of the people, process and technology for the administration of taxes,” he said.
The governor who noted that the state has floated the Kwara State Infrastructure Bond (IF-K) into which a percentage of the state’s IGR will be paid, said the state wants to ensure that contractors are no longer owed in as banks will not fret to give loans to contractors.
“While we thank all stakeholders for their contribution to the achievements, taxpayers need note that tax payment is a civic responsibility for the development of the state,” he said, adding that government cannot provide the goods of democracy without citizens playing their part.
To earn continued support of taxpayers, government must demonstrate transparency on how taxes being collected are used for. It can no longer be business as usual, he said.