By Michael Eboh
Managing Director, SystemSpecs Limited, Mr. John Obaro, has blamed the lingering tax deficit and dwindling revenue recorded in most states of the federation on the lack of proper strategy and continuous dependence on manual revenue collection methods. This is coming on the heels of the inability of most of the states to pay staff salaries, running into several months. According to reports, some of the states are heavily indebted and are on the verge of going broke.
Speaking at the E-Revenue Sustainability Conference 2016 in Abuja, Obaro disclosed that growing revenue do not just happen, but is planned for with the right strategies using advanced and innovative information technological infrastructure.
Obaro, who was represented by Mr. Deremi Atanda, Director, SystemSpecs, lamented that most states governments have refused to migrate to e-revenue collection platforms, while he warned that manual strategy in an electronic environment is bound to fail.
Obaro disclosed that most of the strategies adopted by some states are designed using Silo e-collection Initiatives; lacked the necessary blueprint and were short term in nature and design among others. According to him, no state government should be developing strategies that are for the present, due to the fact that the rate of obsolescence is high and fast.
He said, “If your revenue collection strategy is still manual in a fast-paced electronic economy, there is danger ahead.” Obaro maintained that the in this era of rapid transformation, the rate of change is faster now than at any other time in history, especially in areas of economies, lifestyle & trends, weather, environment and values, among others.
According to him, combination of all these factors suggests we must continue to evolve strategies that match the changing times.
He stated that the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account, TSA, running on the Remita solution which was developed by SystemSpecs, had become a reference point of how technology can be leveraged to create a sustainable revenue cycle.
Speaking later in interview, Mr. Deremi Atanda, Director, SystemSpecs, urged states that are serious about improving their revenue base to embrace technology and other e-payment solutions, stating that the fact that the TSA succeeded at the Federal level is evidence that it would succeed at the states and local government levels.
According to him, technology is cheaper, less laborious in terms of man power, very cost effective in terms of materials; and transparent, affording businesses the opportunity to account for their cash assets at any point in time.
He said, “Anybody who is serious about improving revenue collection over a long term should subscribe to the truth of technology and that is what Remita is all about. We make it easy; it has been proven. It is a success story in Nigeria. There is a case study about it, all the states can see, and at the federal level and it is no longer rocket science.
“It has worked at the federal level and it is so easy and you will just see how this translates into many more opportunities; creation of employment through collection agents that the states are going to be able to create empowerment for people through information technology; and you just see that as much more money comes in, government are empowered to do more in the interest of the citizens.”