Recession: Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau embark on aggressive revenue drive
With the dwindling oil revenue impacting on the capacity of states to embark on development programmes, some, particularly in the north, are facing the stark reality of looking inward and embarking on internally generated revenue drive for development purposes.
Already, Kaduna, Taraba and Plateau states have highlighted the roadmaps for improving their internal revenue to ensure steady economic growth.
For instance, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai at the beginning of this year, told the citizens that his administration would embark on more projects that would facilitate development and growth in the state. He said the government would embark on more projects that would expand the frontiers of development and enhanced Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
To support the budget implementation for the year, the governor stressed that the state’s development partners would play most important role in providing the resources that would advance the governance agenda, pointing out that “we have established credibility with critical partners, evidenced by the MoUs and working arrangements with the various United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dangote Foundation and DFID; and these collaborations are providing up to USD 200m in 2017 alone to support our development programmes.”
Most importantly, the IGR would largely be depended on for the funding of government projects and programmes, because of the dwindling resources from the federation account.
For instance, in April 2016, Kaduna State received N2.4billion from the Federation Account, out of which it paid N2.2 billion as wage, for the less than 100,000 civil servants, leaving a paltry N200million for service delivery.
In 2015, the state received less than 64 billion naira from the federation account and generated N12b from internal sources. For the state, with a population of about seven million people, and 43,460 square kilometers, its total receipts is a far cry of what is needed to develop the state.
Faced with these challenges Governor El-Rufai didn’t agonise or bemoan his fate, nor advance the lazy excuse of dwindling “hand outs from Abuja,” as the reason for poor performance. Working with Ifueko Omoigui, one time Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), he embarked on a drastic and radical restructuring of the Kaduna State Revenue Board. His goal was to drastically increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). It is instructive to note IGR accounts for less than 10 percent of total monthly revenue of most states in the north, due to leakages. Thus, when Abuja fails, states are always in a terrible mess. Good thing is that most states have woken up from their slumber with the need to beef up their internally generated revenue.
In fact, before the reforms, the Kaduna State’s Internal Revenue Service generated about 600 million naira monthly. Now the figure is in the region of about N1.6 billion.
Shedding light into what the State Government is doing to improves revenues, Executive Chairman of the Internal Revenue Service, Mallam Mukthar Ahmed, said his team has been saddled with the task of raising 45 billion naira yearly. To achieve this, the state government has embarked on “the centralisation of collection and ease of payment, through the deployment of PoS and other electronic payment system.’
Also, the state government set up a governing board for the revenue board, engaged consultants to ease vehicle licensing and ICT payment platforms, to block revenue leakages.
Darius: Recession Taught Us Many Lessons
For Taraba State Government, the recession has no doubt necessitated thinking out of the box to continue to remain afloat. The state governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, had during his budget presentation last December, maintained that “our high expectations in 2016 were not met due to the recession we are still experiencing in our country.”
The recession, according to him “did not allowed us to have the resources we anticipated to execute all our laudable programmes and projects” adding that the situation has however “ taught us many lessons.”
In his desire to propel the state to economic prosperity, Darius said the state government came up with a rescue agenda, which is people-centered. The focus according to the governor is massive investment in agriculture and strengthening the state’s partnership with the Federal Government and other development partners.
The state government, he vowed, “will ensure that all counterpart fund requirements are settled timely for effective draw down.” Relevant efforts, he said would as well be put in place to provide agricultural inputs at the appropriate time for the teaming farmers to maximize their potentials.
To ensure the realisation of its dream for the agriculture sector, the state government allocated the sum of N4.404b in this year’s budget. Also, the Jalingo Green House project is one area the state government intends to improve its economic potentials. The project would not only lead to massive employment, but would go a long way to make available to the people abundant foods on their tables. According to Dairu, the green house project, which has been scheduled for completion soon, will trigger the establishment of a vegetable value chain, which will generate, create jobs and have multiplier effect on the state economy.
Agriculture, Solid Mineral, Tourism
The Plateau State Government said it is focusing on Agriculture, solid mineral and tourism to boost the economy of the state and create jobs. The State Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Tamwakat Weli said the state is organising the Plateau State Finance and Investment Forum to showcase investment opportunities and potentials in the first quarter of this year. She said the government is also partnering with the private sector to generate the much-needed revenue thereby stimulating development.
Already, the state has engaged the services of Barnkforte Global Limited, to automate the revenue collection to enhance revenue generation under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
In the government’s efforts to provide food security, sufficiency and employment to the populace, it voted over N5 billion to the agricultural sector for the year.
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