By Festus Fifen.
Minister of the Nigeria Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has tasked all Revenue generating stakeholders in the FCT to work in harmony towards improving revenue generation in the nation’s capital and overtake Lagos State in internally generated revenue.
Speaking on Monday while delivering a keynote address at a stakeholders retreat, “Towards a Harmonized Revenue Management Framework in the FCT” at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State the minister emphasized the need for the FCT to up revenue generation.
In his words “In a nutshell, the FCT is not fairing badly, but it is not yet uhuru because we are performing far below our set expectations in terms of revenue generation and I am confident this retreat will enable us consolidate and reposition on the right pedestal to even takeover Lagos in the area of Internally Generated Revenue.”
“Our IGR in terms of per capita last year actually placed us next to Lagos, ahead of Rivers State with N24,600 per person, Judging from FCT’s population estimates of 2006 census, inclusive of the 5 percent growth rate between 2016 and 2020. Rivers State places third with IGR per capita of N15,281.
“However, in terms of total amount of IGR for 2020, FCT generated little over N102 billion and was ranked third behind Rivers State, who realised N117.19 billion.”
The Minister who was represented by the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, further pointed that with its huge potentials and unique status as the seat of the Federal Government, the FCT should naturally do better
“With the huge resources we have in the FCT, if properly topped and effectively managed, no one will see our back in revenue generation, and we will not have to be running “cap-in-hand” to the Federal Government for allocation when we can actually raise these funds and take the Federal Allocation as additional income.
“Our IGR alone should be more than adequate for self-sufficiency in the delivery of effective services and infrastructure, in line with global standards, for all residents, all Nigerians and visitors.
“Expectation from the public from us is huge and we are obligated to deliver on government promises. No one is willing to accept any excuses, neither is the FCT Administration willing to entertain excuses.”
Commenting on the controversy surrounding right of collection, Malam Bello decried that that lack of trust and confrontational practice impedes revenue collection process.
“We are all aware of the challenges associated with claims over rights of revenue collection in the FCT and attendant issues of multiple taxation, and this greatly impacts adversely on our ease of doing business because it erodes confidence and builds discouragement instead of the other way round.
He therfore urged all the stakeholders to make their trip to Lagos worthwhile by mutually working, warning that of they fail, posterity would not be fair to them.
“Let posterity be kind to us, and remember us for bringing lasting solutions to this lingering problem. We must work out a mutually acceptable mechanisms that is foolproof, such that can block all loopholes in the collection of our huge revenue resources. As I mentioned earlier, let us also look into ways we can expand our revenue base in fallow areas, not necessarily increase the rates so as not to burden our people.
“Most importantly, we should also direct efforts at centralising our collections and avoid the use of thugs, with a view to tackling the problem of multiple collections.”
In an opening remarks earlier, the Permanent Secretary, who was represented by Director, Abuja Geographic Information Systems stated that the “imposition and collection of taxes revenues was a Constitutional obligation that binds the citizens and their leaders and provides the needed resources for progressive national development.
“Regrettably, the administration of this this delicate Constitutional responsibility and obligations at sub-regional levels and in particular, some FCT Area Councils still leave a huge gap for debate and controversies.”
Adesola berated an “avoidable incident where customers were locked inside a restaurant in the FCC by overzealous Area Council’s Revenue officials that gravely embarrassed the Government.”
He stated that the event was an avenue for all the stakeholders to “evolve a revenue management framework that is effective, workable and equitable to all.”
On his part, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that tax collection was the most important function of government because without it, government will not be able to be responsible in providing services like security, infracture and foreign relations, among others.
Represented by Lagos State Commissioner of Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, the Governor revealed that his State’s robust Land Use Charge has harmonized all land-based revenue sources with Local Governments, which has also helped built its data base and necessitates collaboration which he warned FCTA could not run away from.
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