By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Executive Chairman, Borno State Internal Revenue Service, Alhaji Ali Manga Bulama, has said that the state internally generated revenue (IGR) has increased by 23.5 per cent from N6.5 billion in 2018 to N8.2 billion in 2019.
The increase in the collection was despite the decade old Boko Haram insurgency which has almost wiped out economic activities in 20 of the state’s 27 local government areas.
Speaking at the presentation of an Excellence in IGR Award 2019/2020 bestowed on him by Alford Conferences Limited, the Convener of the Annual Nigerian States IGR Summit, Bulama said most of the revenue were generated from the state capital, Maiduguri.
Bulama said: “In 2019, we were able to collect revenue mainly in Maiduguri metropolis and to some extent in six additional local government areas of Jere, Bayo, Shani, Kwaya Kusar, Hawul and Biu.
“The situation has remained pretty much the same even in previous years. Though the continuing insurgency has taken a huge toll on lives and economic activities in the state, we have continued to seek and deploy creative ways to collect taxes and other revenue so that the state can keep operating financially.
“Trans-border trade between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon has also been grounded due to the insurgency.”
He explained that Borno is the only country that shares borders with three countries, and this trans-border trade that was of importance to the economy of the state and the country could presently not be tapped because of the insurgency around the borders of the North-east.
He however said: “Still on a positive note, let me inform those outside the state and outside the country that Maiduguri, the state capital, has confidently bounced back to life, after the many years that it suffered all kinds of internal strife leading to loss of lives and valuable property.
“Though we currently face great limitations, Borno State remains the pillar when you look at the economy of the entire North-east zone of the federation. And, on a positive not, I must thank our state governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, for his raw determination to bring Borno State back to stability and normalcy, even at the risk to his own life.”
The Convener of Nigerian States IGR Summit, Mr. Frederick Apeji, while presenting the Excellence in IGR Award to Borno State, said the state even if it was not able to generate any revenue going by its near war condition, would have been understood by the entire world.
He said it was a surprise that the state was growing its IGR and was able to generate N8.2 billion in 2019 despite the challenges faced daily.
He said there is an urgent need for states to grow their IGR as “today, there is less money coming to the states from the Federation Account. The need for each state of the federation to look inwards and come up with strategies to grow its internally generated revenue (IGR) has therefore become critical”.
Apeji said: “As part of our response to the critical national need, we have created Nigerian States IGR Summit, an annual conference designed to encourage and foster a healthy competition among the FCT and the 36 states of Nigeria in order to substantially increase their internally generated revenue. Whether as individuals or organisations, healthy competition brings out the best in all of us. This is what this summit hopes to foster among the 36 states and FCT in the crucial area of IGR in 2021 and beyond.”