By Henry Umoru
EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole argued yesterday that if states must improve on their internally-generated revenue (IGR), they must be able to provide good governance.
From this, they can have the courage to collect tax from the people.
Oshiomhole, who noted that the poor pay their taxes far above the rich in the country, stressed that leaders who donâ€™t have the peoples’ mandate have no right to ask for it.
Speaking on the paper, ”Rebuilding Tax Payersâ€™ Confidence: The Confluence between Good Leadership and Internally-Generated Revenue,” at the first National Round-Table Strategy Session on IGR, the Edo State governor also canvassed the introduction of property tax in the country.
The Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke,Â also presented a paper, entitled: â€œInnovate or Perish: Building Internally-Generated Revenue through Economic Growth and Developmentâ€”Lessons from Cross River State.”
He said the government can put all revenues together when all necessary modern reforms capable of enabling revenue agencies to perform their duties at optimal level were put in place.
The forum, the first of its kind, was attended by no fewer than 12 governorsÂ and deputy governors.
Governors present aside Oshiomhole and Imoke included those of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Imo State, Mr. Ohakim Ikedi; Ebonyi State, Mr.Â Martin Elechi; Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako,Â and the deputy governors of Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger and Kwara.
The event, which was held at the International Conference Centre, had the theme, â€œSurviving the Downturn: Refocusing on Internally- Generated Revenue”.
Oshiomhole, however, did not hide his anger when he lambasted the organisers for keeping the governors and other guests waiting.
The governor said he was invited to the event which was slated for 10 a.m, but up till 12 noon, the event was yet to start, adding, ”the organisers should note that time is very critical next time. I have another engagement elsewhere and my whole day has been completely mismanaged.”
Another comic relief ensued when the chairman of the session, Gov. Elechi, reminded him that he had five minutes left to finish. Oshiomhole said, “we spent two hours drinking tea there while waiting for the event to commence, and now that we are discussing very serious issues, you are reminding me of five minutes.”