Workshop Identifies Reasons Citizens Don’t Support Anambra’s Revenue Drive
THE lack or absence of basic infrastructures, such as functional health facilities, technical education in schools that equips a child to take off in life without facing frustration for lack of requisite trainings and skills for gainful employment in the industry, amongst other key issues, have been found to impede the willingness of citizens to support state government’s efforts to raise revenue, even in this time of dwindling accruals from the oil sector.
This was discovered at a public dialogue on the reasons why citizens resist supporting revenue drives by the Anambra State government in the time of dwindling oil revenue.
The dialogue, organised by the Civil Rights Concern (CRC), a non-governmental organisation, at the Suncity Exclusive Hotels in Awka, noted also that many foreign investors were actually not attracted to the state because of lack of substantial pool of requisite skills and manpower needed to set up their businesses and industries.
It was also discovered that many youths, who were derailing, could actually be recovered through vocational education and training in technical skills and become assets to government.
Other findings include unharmonised taxes, such that different levels of government were always coming to ask for taxes and revenue from businesses on the same subject matter;
increasing cost of goods, specifically resulting from devalued naira, which is affecting sales and income; many businesses disrupted by the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, especially those at Habour Industrial Estate, who have no incomes now and nothing has been done by the government to assist them either by compensation or resettlement.
Others are high development levy demanded by government agents and arbitrary rate of increment tax assessment of businesses, as people do not know how they are assessed and what the rate of increment would be the following year; SMEs not assisted by government’s poor attitude in fulfilling its promises to enable them access the approved Bank of Industry (BOI) loan to members whose applications were successful, many of the SMEs are fully equipped with modern machines but lacked working capital are wasting, yet government is hoping to increase its IGR; among many others.
According to the National Coordinator of CRC, Okey Onyeka, the organisation works in partnership with Christian Aid Nigeria, with support from DFID in Voice to the People Project, JDPC Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi and the national partners consisting of Centre LSD and Development in Practice production.
The stakeholders commended the government for steps taken so far in increasing the IGR and improving on processes of governance.
It equally held that there was still much to be done to improve the environment, positively assisting SMEs and increasing repository of skills in the state that could attract investors.
This, it held, remained the sure path to improve the state’s IGR and support of the people to government.