- Gets $4.5m World Bank grant for fiscal discipline
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Delta State Government announced wednesday that private schools, maternity homes, medical clinics, agro-allied firms, confectionery enterprises, hospitality outfits and small scale businesses would be among the beneficiaries of its special COVID-19 palliative package.
This special palliative, which was announced by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, while briefing newsmen at the Government House in Asaba, would largely be in the form of tax relief aimed at saving micro, small and medium scale businesses in the state from sinking under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic disease.
This is coming on the heels a grant of $4.5 million to the state government by the World Bank in recognition of the Okowa administration’s consistent display of fiscal discipline in policy programme implementation.
Aniagwu, who was joined by the Chairman of Delta Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR), Mr. Monday Onyeme, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Fidelis Tilije, explained that the palliatives would save jobs by keeping afloat businesses that bear directly on the lives of the masses.
The DBIR chairman explained that the tax reliefs include waivers concerning the statutory 25 percent interest on delayed tax payment or the compulsive 10 percent penalty for tax defaults.
Onyeme stated that the tax incentives would cover the fiscal periods from 2011to 2019 and advised those with justifiable grounds to apply for the COVID-19 tax or audit palliatives to approach the state internal revenue board.
Similarly, Gbe explained that the fiscal palliatives for small scale businesses were in line with the state government’s efforts to “take away the pains of these essential businesses through tax relief.”
He, however, noted that the incentives were without jeopardy to the implementation of the state government’s revised 2020 budget because the government has taken proactive steps in reshaping the projections for the fiscal year.
The budget was revised down by 29 per cent from the initial N395 billion to the current N282 billion.
The Commissioner for Economic Planning also noted that the Delta State’s 2020 Budget was far from being “an elite budget,” as 17 per cent of the revised budget would be focused on reviving various small businesses and the informal sector as the government has realised the neeeds to inject funds into various projects to enable these businesses to put food on the ordinary man’s table.
Gbe also explained that the World Bank grant of $4.5 million to Delta State, Gbe was a 2019 award given to the state in appreciation of the Okowa administration’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, financial discipline, accountability and consistency in transparency during the 2019 fiscal year.
Tilije, who spoke during the press briefing, assured that the amendment of the state’s tax laws would ensure that multiple taxations would become a thing of the past in the state.
He, therefore, advised those with tax related complaints channel their grievances to the Delta Board of Internal Revenue for appropriate attention and resolution.