Okon Bassey in Uyo
Concerned about the economic status of states, two federal agencies – the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have moved in to assist states on how to raise their revenue
During a separate visit to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Akan Okon, both agencies stressed that the federal government was worried about the dwelling economy situations, which has taken a hard toll on finances of federal and state governments .
The leader of the FIRS delegation, Mr. Innocent Ohagwu told the Akwa Ibom State Finance Commissioner that the team was in the state to see how to work hand in hand with the state governments to step-up revenue generation in view of the present economic situation in Nigeria.
Ohagwu called for constructive partnership that would yield mutual benefits for both parties especially in the achievement of revenue targets, while also praying for a comprehensive audit assessment that would aid the remittance of taxes due to the federal government.
Also, a team from the RMAFC said the visit was to familiarise themselves with the State Ministry of Finance and to also synergies to create ideas that could bolster fiscal efficiency, as well as effectiveness in revenue mobilisation.
RMAFC State Coordinator in the state, Mr. Welanye Damni commended the finance commissioner and his team for taking the financial sector to a higher level through the initiation of reforms, and expressed hope that with their support, RMAFC will function optimally in the State.
While receiving the federal government agencies, Okon said the state government was ready to strengthen collaboration with the FIRS) with the view to expanding tax net for enhanced revenue generation .
According to him, there was need for exchange of relevant information that would aid the capturing of every individuals and organisations required by law to remit taxes to government.
He said public cooperation is one of the cardinal frameworks that will define the future of tax administration in Nigeria declaring that the state government has taken steps to put in place a robust tax compliance mechanism as part of its effort to diversify the economy from oil.
For Okon, the critical area was to fashion out ways to secure public buy-in on tax to pave way for voluntary compliance, adding that people would be encouraged to pay taxes when they see that government has judiciously utilized their money to provide tangible infrastructural amenities .
The commissioner canvassed that tax payment should be seen as a civic responsibility, urging relevant authorities to enforce relevant tax laws in the system to guard against tax evasion and avoidance to ensure availability of funds for sustainable development.
He also told the RMAFC officials that government was exploring to diversify the economy in order to enhance revenue generation, job and employment creation, for the socio-economic empowerment of the people.
Okon described their visit as timely given the present economic crunch saying the desire of Akwa Ibom State government was to key into their economic diversification strategies to maximally harness the huge potentials in the abundant natural resources especially in Agriculture to heighten the State’s revenue base.