By Henry Umoru
THE Thirty six state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governorsâ€™ Forum yesterday rose from a three day-seminar promising that they were preparedÂ to make new tax laws for the purposes of generating more revenue.
The governors also noted with concern the dwindling revenue base of the federal, states and local government which they attributed to fluctuation in the price of oil, just as they stressed the need to â€œexplore and identify alternative sources of revenue so as to forestall the dire consequences of an over_dependence on oil and attain fiscal autonomy.â€
The governors also agreed to ensure that they create the enabling environment for investments in their various states geared towards encouraging investors with the resultant effect of increasing revenue sources available to their governments.
In a 14-point communiquÃ© issued at the end of the 1st National Round-table Strategy Session on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)â€ held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Governors who noted that there was the urgent need to use experts in the collection of taxes and strengthening of tax collection machineries, however said holding regular dialogue with banks and financial institutions was also necessary as it would help check under remittances or delay in remittances.
According to the governors, the stakeholders must work in harmony as part of moves toÂ build the revenue base of the country, even as they also called for workable strategies that would enhance the identification and prioritization of alternative revenue generating channels as well as that all stakeholders participate in the administration of taxes in their respective states.
Part of the recommendations was the need forÂ reliable databases of taxpayers that would assist policy makers and tax experts in assessing major changes to the tax system and encouraging and transforming Inland Revenue Services in their states by â€œbuilding more proactive, less reactive and intrusive relationship with communities.â€
The governors also agreed that they would meet the Tax identification Number (TIN) obligation of their states by paying their counterpart funds, increase taxpayers awareness and generally sensitize the populace through the awareness drive as well asÂ design appropriate policies to integrate the informal sector into the mainstream of their economy.