Chuks Okocha in Abuja
States governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wednesday commenced a two-day seminar on how to improve their states’ internally generated revenue (IGR), as party challenged states to move away from oil, suggesting that buyers may be scarce in the nearest future.
The governors in unison said they were already preparing themselves with creative ideas and solutions to improve IGR so that when federal government can no longer share as much as it does now, they would still be in a position to fulfill their obligations to the people.
The revenue drive workshop organised under the auspices of the PDP Governors Forum in Abuja, tagged: ‘The 2019 Internally-Generated Revenue Summit has the theme: ‘The Imperatives of Developing Internally Generated Revenue Options for State Governments in a Recessed Economy’.
Declaring the seminar open, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, stated that beyond the issue of enhancing IGR, the PDP states must cut down on wastage to be able to prepare for the future.
Secondus, who was represented by the party National Financial Secretary, Abdulahi Maibasira, said the myriads of problems facing the country necessitated the move away from the heavy reliance on the federal allocation to robust internally-generated revenue.
He warned that improved revenue is not enough as state governments must demonstrate prudence in the management of resources to meet the needs of the people.
According to Secondus, “The myriad of problems facing the country, like poor infrastructure, poverty and the likes, necessitated the need for more sources of fund. But increased IGR may not solve the problem. The best way also is to be prudent in the management of resources. There must be a cut down in waste to be able to prepare for tomorrow.”
The PDP national chairman also berated the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government for leading Nigeria to the unenviable position of the poverty capital of the world.
He expressed the hope that the summit would find solutions to the revenue issues hindering the performances of the government, advising that it should examine the issue of taxation, double taxation, secret tax codes, ease of doing business as well as the structure of government.
“We need to make revenue base count and make the country work. We can’t get the country working unless we do the needful,” Secondus stated.
Raising concern about multiple taxation, he stressed the need for transparent tax administration as well as the need to monitor e-commerce businesses.
Meanwhile, the party leader lamented the violence that enveloped the Bayelsa and Kogi States governorship elections, adding that what the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as results were not the true reflection of what transpired.
Also, the Director of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Osaro Onaiwu, challenged the governors to think beyond oil, stating that in the very near future, Nigeria may not have buyers for its oil.
He explained that this is why it has become critical for states to find creative ways to generate revenue internally.
According to Onaiwu, “This is not to be mistaken for a call for more taxes, rather, a call to begin to think outside the box in preparation for when Abuja cannot share as much as it does now.
He said that whether money comes from Abuja or not, there will still be a need for the states to build infrastructure, pay worker, provide health care, improve education among others.
Commending the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for hosting the South South Police Regional Summit, Onaiwu said what that mean is that PDP governors believe in peace and not violence, as such, it has helped the states to develop.
He added that Zamfara State in the next two years would be a state to be reckoned with as the governor is working round the clock to ensure that peace reign supreme for the benefit of the people.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, revealed that there is a stabilising peace in the state, which he said has helped to generate revenue for the state.