By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—GOV-ERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has inaugurated a new Board of Internal Revenue with a call on the leadership of the board to explore ways of improving the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, profile of the state in order to fast- track development and boost the economy of the state.
Emmanuel, who gave the charge during the inauguration at the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Uyo, weekend, said that members of the Board who were selected on merit must employ their wealth of experience in their assigned duties.
He urged the board to beam its searchlight on oil companies that have been operating in the state’s territorial waters without paying taxes to the state government, stressing that such refusal to remit taxes to states where they have their administrative offices while operating in the state was counter-productive to the execution of development programme of his administration.
He frowned at the outcry over the proposed introduction of Property Law in the state, noting that the same people who are complaining have been paying such levies to other states where they have property.
The governor called for adequate public enlightenment on the controversial Property Tax in the state to enable them understand that funds generated from payment of taxes help in the provision of social amenities that improve their quality of life.
“I want to advice our people to see tax payment as a civic responsibility. They don’t need to wait to be coerced. In developed countries, the citizens pay their taxes religiously to support government provide all social amenities and other welfare programmes for them,” he said.
Responding Chairman of the new Board, Mr Okon Okon, expressed appreciation to the state government for finding them worthy of such appoitnment and pledged, on behalf of others to justify the confidence repose in them.
The new Revenue Board has Mrs. Ekemesit Ekpro as Secretary while Nse Atang, Ekere Afia and Mr. Leo Umana, are members.
Also on the board are representatives of Ministries of Economic Development, Lands and Town Planning, Investment, Commerce and Industry, Justice and Transport.