Gov Simon Lalong of Plateau state
By Therese Nanlong
The Plateau State Internal Revenue Service, PSIRS has assured that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 disease, the Service would do its best to continue to general revenue for the running of government businesses.
The Chairman of the Service, Mr. Dashe Arlat who presented a breakdown of revenue accrued to the State between January and April, 2020 said there are prospects that activities of government would be stagnated due to the prevailing situation.
He noted that between January and March, 2020, being the first quarter, about N7.2bn was realized as IGR and over N600m generated in April alone despite the COVID-19 disease and lockdown.
Arlat urged tax payers to be calm as the Service has devise ways of ensuring that tax payment does not become a burden even as the Service has made provision for facemasks and hand sanitizer which would be distributed to help them stay safe of the disease.
He called on citizens not to see the lockdown as punitive but and by all protocols so that the disease can be contained.
His words, “State IGR target was put at N22 Billion Naira with PSIRS target pegged at N16 Billion Naira in 2020.
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As a Service, PSIRS devised its strategies and poised itself to meet and even surpass its 2020 target of N16 Billion. From January to March 2020 there has been steady improvement in Plateau state IGR as follows : January– N 1,068,600,297.69, February — N963,493,056.63, March — N5,171,236,278.29, total– N7,203,329,641.61.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world and Nigeria in various ways and has resulted in unforeseen and devastating health and economic consequences. Crude oil prices, the main driver of Nigeria’s economy has been on a decline since 6th March 2020 falling below 20USD per barrel by the end of March 2020 – the lowest in over two (2) decades. With the unprecedented drop of crude oil prices that resulted in the drop in statutory revenue allocation to the State, taxation and charging fees for services have become a ready-made alternative source of revenue.
“This however has become a challenge with the attendant lockdown across the states and country stifling economic activities in an effort to keep citizens safe from the dreaded COVID-19. There is an urgent need for Government and citizens to brace up for the impending harsh economic climate that lies ahead.
“Strategies must be evolved to ensure that revenues are harnessed and collected from the little activities going on even amidst the Pandemic to keep the wheels of government turning to meet the needs of the people. A post pandemic strategy must be developed and deployed to ensure business activities resume seamlessly after the Pandemic. Despite the lockdown, substantial revenue was received in April, 2020 to the tune of over N600million, we intend to maintain the tempo.”
Speaking further, he added, “As a Service, we have observed that the steps taken by Government is aimed at forestalling the spread of the pandemic into Plateau State and to ensure safety of lives of Plateau citizens. The Service calls on Plateau citizens not to view Governments actions as punitive but as preventive and precautionary given the alarming rate the Corona Virus is spreading across the country.
“The Service has similarly extended the deadline dates for the submission of annual tax returns by our tax payers in the formal and informal sectors from 31st January and 31st March respectively till 30th June 2020. This is to help ease the strain on the businesses of our esteemed tax payers during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Service has procured face masks and hand sanitizers for distribution to tax payers and the vulnerable citizens as its support towards efforts of Government at alleviating the plight of Plateau citizens.