By Hammed Shittu
The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) yesterday disclosed that it has raked in a total of N9.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021, out of the N29 billion target it had set for the year
Speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Ilorin, the Executive Chairman of the agency, Mrs. Shade Omoniyi, said the achievement recorded was due to adoption of technology and steady blockage of leakages within the tax administration system.
According to her, “The increase in the revenue generated under review remain its figure highest ever collected by the agency without any extraordinary item at any quarter since its founding in 2016.”
She said, “The first quarter collections show steady and significant growth, month-on-month as indicated below: January- N2, 984,312,074.60; February – N3,058,746,474.21; March – N3,555,446,391.09; totaling N9,598 billion
“This feat of KW-IRS in Q1, 2021 was a great improvement over the N6, 227,099,973.42 raked in, in the last quarter of 2020. It is a reflection of the relentless efforts of the Service in bringing seamlessness to Tax Administration through automation and introduction of online payment platforms to ease payment of all taxes.”
Omoniyi also explained that the drop in revenue in 2020 was expected because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Kwara’s uncompromising adherence to tax break and waivers for businesses during the period, and the fact of its operations being majorly manual as at last year.
She said the hugely manual nature of its operations as of last year meant that its staff were unable to move around to collect taxes as COVID-19 hit harder.
Omoniyi said the feat was recorded without any new raise in the tax rate, even as the agency made deliberate steps to tackle multiple taxation.
She stated that, “Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) since inception has operated a manual tax administration system.
“This means assessment and collection of relevant taxes payable to the State Government from both KW-IRS and other MDAs are on contact basis.
“Despite this, the Service has recorded steady IGR growth over the years. Upon its assumption of office in October 2019, the Service’s new management began working tirelessly to sustain this momentum. These efforts culminated in the IGR growth from N23billion as at 30thSeptember to N30.7billion as at the end of the year, 2019″.
Omoniyi opined further that, “the Service did not rest on its oars as various revenue and cost-cutting initiatives were immediately implemented to shore up the State IGR while it worked assiduously to automate its revenue and tax administration processes.
“The various revenue leakage blockages paid off when in quarter one of 2020, the service generated N7 billion. However, with the spread of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown of the state by the government towards the end of March and up until May, the State IGR plummeted to N2 billion.
“Given that the state’s economy was greatly affected by the lockdown and the state’s collection system was still contact-based as at this time, it was only to be expected that no serious activities would happen in the revenue space for that period.”