By Emeka Mamah
Kaduna â€” The Kaduna State government says its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) will hit about N6.7 billion at the end of this month.
Chairman, Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue, Alhaji Ahmed Jibril, who made this known, said the board had made progressive increase in its internally generated revenue since the inception of the administration of Governor Mohammed Namadi Sambo with N4.8 billion in 2007 from N2.6 billion in 2006.
In an interview with reporters in Kaduna,Jibril attributed the development to certain innovations as well as the blockage of loopholes through which staff had collaborated with tax payers to defraud the government.
He, however, denied reports that state government plans to increase taxes, adding that the recent meeting of governors on the matter was to examine ways to empower their tax authorities so that they could improve on internally generated revenue through improvement in efficiency and not increase in taxes.
According to him, â€œthis is the first time in the history of Nigeria that governors would meet to discuss taxation due to the economic meltdown. The easy money we used to get from Abuja is no longer forthcoming.
â€œThat is why the governors decided to look inwards and see how they can generate more revenue to meet their demands. All of us grew up to meet the oil boom and we have never given any serious attention to taxation.
â€œDue to the problem in the oil sector, we have to look inwards. Since the inception of this administration in Kaduna State, the governor has done a few things to enable us take more serious action on the private sector. We have instituted what we called self-assessment.
â€œWe are only used to receiving oil money from government. What we have been doing in the last two years is to enlighten the people on taxation and the benefits. We have also instituted a transparent tax collection system.
â€œIn the past, people used to bring cash or cheques to us but we no longer collect cheques or cash. We ask you to go to the bank and pay through what we called the Pay Direct System.
â€œWe have partnered with all the banks in Nigeria so that anywhere you are, you just walk into the bank and say you want to pay tax to the Kaduna State revenue board and you will be given a form to fill and you pay your tax.
â€œThe transaction will show directly on my desk and the Governor too has a system on his table for him to see the payments as they come in.
â€œSo, people are now confident that whatever they pay goes directly into the account of government and this has encouraged more people to pay unlike in the past when they believed that what they pay does not get to government.”