States must look inward for revenues- Kwara State Speaker
The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Dr Ali. Ahmad says for states in the federation to be self sustaining and less dependent on the dwindling federal allocations, they must look inward and explore economic potentials in their states.
To this end, he said the eighth legislature under his watch in the state would continue to provide the needed platform for the current administration in the state to look inward in addressing developmental challenges confronting the state especially in the areas of education, health, water supply and road construction.
The Speaker gave the assurance in Ilorin while declaring open a public hearing on the Revenue Administration (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Revenue Court ( Amendment) Bill 2016.
Ahmad who said though it was the duty of any legislature to exact law for good governance but when it comes to revenue laws no stone according to him must be left unturned in achieving practicable laws,stressing that the ever falling price of crude oil in the international market no doubt made it imperative for all tiers of government in the country to explore other sources towards churning out the benefits of democracy to the citizenry.
He recalled that recently,the state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmad had requested the state House of Assembly to give his government the nod to take a loan to execute some developmental projects stressing that though the request was approved but queried how long can borrowing sustain the state economy.
The Speaker assured that their inputs and feelings would guide the legislature in its decisions to pass the amendments or otherwise.
In his submission,the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,Barrister Kamaldeen Ajibade who said the bill was desirable for passage into law, proposed some amendments to give the proposed law priority over all other relevant revenue laws in the state to capture and enhance the purpose for which the state internal Revenue Service was established.
Presenting the position of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) on the proposed laws the chairman of the state council of the Union Abiodun Abdulkareem who eulogised the leadership of the House for its commitment towards involving members of the public in its legislative activities said the bill if passed unto law would enhance transparency,efficiency and credibility in the administration of revenue generation by the state Government.
NUJ however enjoined the state government not to place absolute reliance on tax,rates,fees and other charges as means of funding,but explore the agricultural and solid mineral potentials of the State to stimulate development.
The state chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in its submission urged the states Assembly to amend section 24(b) of the law to include Council chairmen in the composition of the state joint revenue committee to ensure quality representation and fast track decision making.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) commended the state government for its foresight in looking inward for alternative ways of generating revenue in the state.
The NLC then called for the inclusion of labour on the board and technical committee of the KWIRS,job security of KWIRS employees,publication of monthly revenue collection by KWIRS to ensure transparency and accountability
The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) which supported the passage of the bill into law urged the House to ensure that the existing councils revenue collectors serve as Assessors\collectors of each local government revenue committee,avoid of double taxation and ensure prompt remittance of the local goverment dues of the joint revenue
Earlier,in their welcome remarks,the chairmen of the House committees on finance and Appropriation as well as Ethics,Public Petitions,Priviledges and Judiciary Hon Mashood Bakare and Barrister Kamaldeen Fagbemi said the public hearing was organised to sample the opinions of the public whom they said were at the receiving end of the enactment in the state.
They assured that their views would be reflected and interest adequately protected to enhance the well being of all and sundry.
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