BEVERLY HILLS, May 10, (THEWILL) – Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, recently signed the Plateau State Revenue (Consolidation) Law, after which he led the government officials into the academics of the enabling law and the ‘public sector strategic engagement on taxation’. UKANDI ODEY reviews the new drive
With the sub-regional Jos Main Market lying in ruins, the Jos Inland Container Depot far from being realised, illegal tin mining sabotaging efforts at organised economy and Fulani herdsmen attacks grating on the flourish of farming and agricultural production, the government has taken steps to boost the state revenue in order to rely less on federal allocations.
Furthermore, industrialisation and skills acquisition are apparently not at a buoy in day-to-day business as internally generated revenue daily faces slim and lean prospects in Plateau State. This scenario forces a desperate and panting government to innovate taxation and taxing options as part of the COVID-19 economics regime.
Not done with tax consultants, especially in the face of dwindling federation allocations and signing of the Plateau State Revenue (Consolidation) law 2020, a forthnight ago, the governor, Simon Bako Lalong led other public sector actors and some private sector businocrats on a “public sector strategic engagement on taxation” – a grand scale effort to explore the revenue consolidation law and maximise the options of taxable goods and services, and block leakages within the tax and audit system.
With emphasis on revenue administration and tax governance, public sector entities are to play distinct and significant roles in ensuring improved taxation and mobilisation of internally generated revenue and their sources. This collectivism will ensure compliance and co-operation from taxable individuals and corporate person.
Interrogating the subject of “latent opportunities for MDAs and local government councils in Plateau State to catalyse and deliver optimal revenue yield”, the broader perspective was “Plateau State public sector strategic engagement on taxation”. Before the “strategic engagement” which brought drivers of the state government’s policies and programmes to a brain storming roundtable, has the State revenue law had been signed and put into operation.
A major emphasis of the law is giving legal backing to revenue drive and vesting the responsibility on certain agencies and departments of government. Accordingly, the law “establishes the Plateau State Internal Revenue Service as the sole revenue agency to collect and account for all revenues accruable to Plateau State government through the use of technology”.
The law further empowers the PSIRS with the “authority to freely control its day-to-day running of the technical, professional, and administrative affairs”.
The template of the new IGR offensive contains presumptive taxes payable to the state. Cutting across all discernible and accessible services and goods within the context and framework of market legitimacy and legal trade, as at press time, there were 31 identified or established presumptive taxes within the Plateau State business cum industrial environment.
Classified into micro, small scale, and medium scale businesses, expected or presumptive tax depends on the size of the business, as annual tax rates range from N2,500 for micro businesses, to N25,000 and N50,000 for small and medium scale businesses respectively.
Apart from churches and prayer houses, no business is too petty or miniature to be captured in the catalogue of tax payables. From pure water to welders to patent medicines, car wash, restaurants and food vendors, dry cleaners, confectioneries and bakeries, annual presumptive tax could be as much as N75,000 or N100,0000 naira, depending on the assessment of volume of trade and turn over by the assessment authority.
Providing a background to the seminar, the organising consultant noted that “the world over, the performance by government of its core responsibility – to provide for the welfare and well-being of citizens through social services and infrastructure development, etc – is totally dependent on the quantum of available resources on a sustainable, predictable basis.
“Such resources are harnessed and pooled via a combination of options and methods; but chiefly in the form of taxes, rates, charges, levies/fines/fees. These are payable by taxable individuals and corporate entities as codified and provided for by law, voluntarily, continually and consistently through data-based assessment of routine enforcements, and transparent collections”.
Aligning the context of the “strategic engagement” with the global exigencies unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organising consultant, noted further that “long before the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the attendant disruptions that it provoked globally, the reality of dwindling revenues from the federally distributable pool has sparked alarm bells.
“Here in Plateau State, the State Chief Executive had in 2019 tasked the Plateau Internal Revenue Service to scale up its performance to boost the state’s revenue profile. He openly supported the PSIRS to orchestrate the diligent and timely payment through voluntary compliance, by every taxable individual and entity across the state of their variegated tax obligation”.
It was, therefore, a matter of emphasising the obvious when Governor Simon Lalong urged all participants at the seminar – mostly government officials – to make the best use of the occasion and maximise and take advantage of insights provided by resource persons. Internally generated revenue being a veritable way out of over reliance on statutory monthly allocations, and an elixir for development planning and projection, taxes and taxation hold the key to optimal internal revenue generation.