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Abia state introduces new methods to improve internal revenue

By on April 11, 2013

UMUAHIA- To improve its internally generated revenue and abolish double taxation, Abia state Government has introduced a revenue generating method known as Consolidated Assets and Resources Inventory System [CARIS].

The system entails the enumeration of all buildings in all communities in the whole of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state, and the identification of the purpose for which each property is used, commercial or residential.

It will also indicate the type of business being done in each of the buildings to enable the state board of internal revenue easily assess the taxes due to them.

Already, some Local Government councils like Ohafia, Umuahia South and Ikwuano have been enumerated and 59, 91 and 35 communities identified in Ohafia, Ikwuano and Umuahia North, respectively.

Giving Governor Theodore Orji and some members of his cabinet interim report of the project, the chief executive officer of the company handling the project, Wright and Hughes, Prof. Emeka Mpamugo said that they have so far identified 18,700 property,176 being commercial property.

Mpamugo announced that they had installed 10 servers at the state Ministry of Finance which would enable them to view the identified property in the state so as to make it impossible for residents to evade payment of taxes and legal levies.

“The goal is to increase the revenue of the state by identifying all the properties that will give the state revenue. It will help the board of internal revenue to assess how much revenue it gets; it will help for a consolidated billing system as the properties have identity numbers”, Mpamugo explained.

According to him, data entry is presently going on their office and after the exercise they will reconcile with the Ministry of Land to identify who has each property.

After briefing on the interim report and clarification of issues raised by the participants, Governor Theodore Orji expressed the hope that when completed the system would help to improve the internally generated revenue of the state. He also said that the system would help in the provision of security.

Orji lamented thus, “we have had persistent problem in revenue generation”, said that he inherited a monthly IGR of N200 million which now hovers around N250 million, which he said was not acceptable to him because “there is a lot of money in Abia”.

Because of the poor IGR, the Governor said that the state depends solely on Federal Allocation, expressing worry that “if we don’t have anything from FAC, we are doomed. But if we are comfortable with our IGR, there will be no problem”.

“Our people are violently averse to payment taxes and levies. We have no base, no data; we are doing permutation up and down. We don’t know how many houses we have in Umuahia, how many shops in Ariria Market, Aba and many other places.

“If we work with this, it will improve our IGR. It will also help us in security, as it will help us to know who lives where. It will equally abolish the issue of double taxation. If we are going to give demand notice, it will contain all the approved taxes and levies the people are supposed to pay.

“What we inherited here are agents of corruption. What you have on ground in Ariria International Market are agents who pay to individuals and not to the Government. These things will be abolished”, Governor Orji noted.

He called on the company to ensure that the system has strong security proof so that workers of the revenue offices do not compromise it.