Governors ask finance commissioners to increase domestic revenue

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has advised Commissioners of Finance and heads of states revenue collection agencies to rise up to the challenges of increasing their states’ domestic revenues. The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, gave the advise at a Peer Learning Event organised by the NGF in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that the advice was important as states looked towards a future without or beyond oil dependence.

Fayemi said that the recent fiscal crisis of 2015 and 2016 proved that over the years, states had not done enough to reduce their dependence on oil.

“It is true that domestic revenues have grown significantly over the last three years. However, our records show that the high growths have accounted for less than half of the state.

“We all know that public expenditure commitments have continue to grow in contrast to temporary windfails from oil. This has led to rising fiscal disequilibrium.

“Today, fiscal sustainability is a rising development challenge. We must do more to steer our governments to stability.

“We must work towards closing the wide revenue gap in order to position the country to meet the growing development needs.

“This responsibility lies in the capacity of our revenue authorities to improves tax administration capacity and governance especially in the non-oil sectors of the economy,’’ Fayemi said.

Also, the Director of NGF Secretariat, Asishana Okauru, said the essence of the workshop was for states to share lessons and experience on measures that had helped to improve on their domestic revenue.

Okauru said that the event with the theme “Imperative of tax compliance on financing the future’’ was key giving the low tax base of states.

“While we have recorded fiscal strive in 11 states with IGR growth rate of about 20 per cent, I need to state that we are also confronted with less optimum progress in number of other states.

“Through our dashboard and helpdesk programme we will continue to assist in closing the reform gap across states by sharing lessons that have worked and eliciting actions from governors to support you.’’

Okauru said that practical lessons would be shared by Lagos and Edo states Internal Revenue Service on the steps they took to improve on tax compliance.

 

THE PUNCH

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