Abia Otti Tasks Participants To Build On Strategies To Improve The State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)

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The Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti OFR, has charged participants on revenue generation to put on their thinking cap and come up with strategies to improve the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection.

The Governor gave the charge at a 2 -day revenue retreat organized by the State government for heads of revenue generating agencies as well as Directors of Finance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He noted that Abia State has not been doing well in IGR, saying that the State needs to put in place an efficient and transparent revenue collection process .
The Governor further said that the lofty objectives of the government cannot be achieved if government has no funds to accomplish them, adding that participants should come up with modest strategies that would shore up the IGR profile where government can rely less on handouts from Federal Allocation.

“Let’s not think yesterday anymore because some of the things we are familiar with are changing rapidly. I am not too sure that anybody saw robotics and artificial intelligence coming in the last 20 years but it is real here today. It therefore becomes very important that retreats like this are held because the way governments run is that expenditure comes from income.”

He said that it would amount to irresponsibility on the part of government if it fails to put in place mechanisms to collect levies due it and explained that the retreat is apt as it is expected that at the end of it, things should be done differently.

“So if we as government fail to transparently and honestly put in place mechanisms that would help us collect the revenues that are due us,I believe that is irresponsibility on the part of government or may be sabotage. It is in the light of this that I believe that the retreat that is holding here today is well appointed and placed.”

“As a State we are not doing well in our Internally Generated Revenue and I believe that the problem is that we have not put in a lot of thinking into the collection process and we have not put in place an efficient and transparent collection process. In keeping in to our mantra that taxes are government share of the prosperity it has created amongst the populace”

On the expectations from the retreat, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Kingsley Anosike said government wants to restore Abia’s glory as centre of commerce and global economic hub in the near future as well as broaden the State revenue base and positively change the State’s revenue culture and possibilities.

In his opening remarks , the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu described the retreat as very important in developing strategic policies that would bring about efficiency and increase the revenue profile of the State and implored all to come up with ideas to realize the objectives of the retreat.

Earlier in an address, the Chairman, Abia State Board of Internal Revenue (ABIRS), Prof. Udochukwu Ogbonna said the essence of the retreat is to share ideas on issues of revenue generation, pointing out that low knowledge of tax among the people and lack of training among revenue generating staff are responsible for the low IGR of the State.

He said that revenue generation is key to the success of the present administration and thanked Governor Otti for approving the retreat, saying that it shows the importance the Governor attached to revenue generation in the state.