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Abia Targets N1bn IGR By 2019

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Enugu Governor, Okezie-Ikpeazu

The executive chairman, Abia Board of Internal Revenue, Chief Udochukwu Ogbonna, has said that the agency is targeting to make N1 billion internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by 2019.

Ogbonna said this in an interview in Umuahia, yesterday.

He said that the board had introduced some reforms and measures to check the activities of illegal revenue agents and blocked all the leakages.

He said that the reforms included the harmonisation of revenue collection in the state and eliminating illegal revenue agents.

According to him, the harmonisation has yielded tremendous result with more than 70 per cent increase in the monthly revenue profile of the state.

“Our target is to achieve about 300 per cent increase, which would give the state about N1 billion monthly.”

He said that the state House of Assembly had passed a law which empowered the agency to solely collect tax for the state.

Ogbonna said that all revenues collected by the board were paid into the state government’s consolidated revenue account.

He declined to disclose the current monthly revenue status of the state, saying that it was not in his powers to do so.

He blamed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for issuing letters to agents to collect revenue on their behalf, in spite of the extanct law.

He said that the development was causing confusion and described the activites of illegal revenue agents as inimical to the interest of the state.

He alleged that the monies the agents collected from unsuspecting residents did not get into the state coffers but private pockets.

“We have written to the Police urging them to stop entertaining any letters from the agents, allegedly issued to them by the MDAs.”

Ogbonna warned residents to desist from paying cash to agents, saying that every payment should be made to the state’s bank account.

He said that the agency had written to the Commissioner of Police to stop releasing his men to accompany the illegal revenue agents.

He said that the agency also planned to write to the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to restrain his men from being used by the agents in their illegal act.

He said that the next level in the strategic efforts to achieve sanity and rid the system of agents would be to start arresting them.

Ogbonna said that the two collection platforms created by the board made it easy for percentage sharing of taxes and rates among the MDAs, state and local governments.

He said that the automated system was programmed to share and remit simultaneously any money paid into the consolidated bank account to the three tiers, according to the agreed formula.

He said that the board was negotiating with one of the old generation banks to open pay points in the six major markets in the state for ease of payment of rates by traders.

The BIR boss identified the negative attitude of the people toward tax payment as the major challenge confronting the agency.

“Tax is statutory but people lack the culture of paying tax. All over the world, people resist tax.”

He appealed to residents to imbibe the tax culture, saying that very soon, tax would become government’s only source of revenue when solar energy replaced crude oil.

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