By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Benue state government has promised to facilitate moves to grant the Benue State Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, autonomy even as it commended the steps taken so far by the Executive Chairman of the Service, Mr. Terzungwe Atser to increase the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of the state.
The government observed that an autonomy to the Service would enable it function more effectively and efficiently in the manner that would guarantee its sustainability.
The state Commissioner of Finance, Mr. David Olofu who stated this yesterday during the technical presentation of the Vision and Mission of BIRS by Mr. Atser at the Ministry Headquarters in Makurdi stated that the vision of the BIRS Chairman had further confirmed Governor Ortom’s position that he appointed the right man for the job.
According to Mr. Dennis Mernyi, Special Assistant, SA, Media and Publicity to the BIRS Chairman, the Commissioner said, “The government would ensure the Service is granted the autonomy as you have requested. This will be done with the assurances that you will improve on the IGR for the state.
“At the stage where we are now, our only hope is on BIRS since what is coming from the federation account is no longer feasible.
“If we have a sure sustainable revenue, we can plan our fiscal budget more effectively,” he stated.
Tasking the BIRS Chairman on the need to surpass the projected Revenue generation for the state so that he would be remembered as the BIRS chairman that introduced innovations that jacked up the state IGR, the Commissioner stated further that, “Am convinced with this interaction, that there is hope for the state IGR.
“We shall continue to work together. We at the Ministry of Finance will support you to ensure that this agenda succeeds.”
Further expressing optimism that the strategic agenda and projected document prepared by the the BIRS Chairman would earn more revenue for the state, Mr. Olofu applauded Atser for providing the management of the Ministry an insight into the operations of the Service.
He said, “government is pleased that since your appointment, you have always made revenue generation your priority for the development of Benue state.”
He expressed optimism that when the desired mapped out goals were fully implemented, BIRS would move forward and continue to achieve even more for the state.
Presenting the document earlier, with the title, “My Vision for Benue State Internal Revenue Service”, Mr. Atser disclosed that his vision for the Service was “to establish the most Efficient Tax Administration in Nigeria.”
He added that his mission on the other hand was to ensure that all tax payers filed and paid the correct amount of taxes as and when due in the most convenient manner at the lowest possible cost.
The Executive Chairman said, he met a Tax Authority without a Tax Payer Register, but multiplicity of revenue and tax items on roads and markets with illegal collections and road blocks across the state.
He regretted that poor tax payer perception among several other factors contributed to poor condition of the service before he took over.
Atser however, declared that he had projected to secure full financial and human autonomy for BIRS as enshrined in the BIR Administration to enhance independence of the revenue authority.
He explained that a fully automated tax administration with an electronic taxpayer register that captures all taxpayers, would improve efficiency of the tax authority adding that he would seek the promulgation of new laws on withholding taxes on Rent, Economic development levy and Benue State Social Security Number among other innovations.
The presentation was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry, Mr. Matthew Uyina, managements of the Ministry and the BIRS.