Edo targets land use charge to boost IGR

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state says the State records an average of N1.5 billon monthly from Internally Generated Revenue, admitting that the government must widen its scope of tax generation to sustain the pace of development in the state.

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole
Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole

This comes to light even as the State Internal Revenue Service recovered over N654 million from 23 corporate tax defaulters of the 1,536 charged to court in the state, last year.

Speaking at the commissioning of the new edifice housing the offices of the State Internal Revenue Service, yesterday, Governor Oshiomhole said the government was now ready to give effect to the letter and spirit of the Land Use Charge to generate more tax for the government.

“The challenge of government is not just to collect taxes but develop institutions. The character of a government is defined by its tax policies; who pay how much and who gets what.

“This is the only country where politicians can speak from all corners of their mouth about what they want to do even if they know they won’t do it and they get applause and go home to sleep”, he said.

Oshiomhole declared “In Edo State, we are clear that we will build institutions. Rather than allow tax collectors to collect our taxes and collect commissions, we decided to develop in-house capacity which government after government will build on. It is consistent with our determination that we will not hide under any guise to collect public money and share with anyone

“When we collect public money in taxes, we use them judiciously. When I arrived here in November, 2018, the monthly receipt was hovering below N300million, sometimes, N280 million, sometimes N300 million and Edo State Government was paying commission to tax collectors out of that meagre amount.

He said, “I just want to assure Edo people that when we grew the revenue receipt up to N2 billion, we did not pay commission to anybody, including the revenue board. It has now come to an average of N1. 5billion, but the good thing is that, we are not paying anybody out of it.”

Oshiomhole said “having been given the honour to preside over the people, we must have the good heart to use the tax judiciously.

“We are getting results not because we have more money but because we are accountable to the people. We are delivering today on roads, we are delivering on education, we are delivering on rural boreholes, we are working everywhere. Benin is expanding very fast; many of our people are developing satellite towns and they have the right to have the facilities and all these are as a result of Edo Taxpayers’ money.

“If we must sustain the pace of development, we must widen the bracket of tax collection and that is why we must give effect to the letter and spirit of the Land Use Charge.

“Those who live in high density area, we are not going to disturb because they already have more on their plates, but those who occupy the middle income area must pay something and those who live in big land areas will pay according to the land that is used so that there is fairness, justice and resources to keep poor people happy so that the rich can sleep with their eyes closed.”

Earlier, the Executive Chairman Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), Chief Oseni Elamah said the administration of Comrade Oshiomhole since inception in November 2008 recognised the need to reposition and build a transparent, efficient, accountable and enduring tax system in line with global best practices.

He enjoined all taxable adults in the state to pay their taxes and obtain their Tax Identification Number (TIN) in order to enhance the development agenda of the state government and taking Edo to the next level.

The highpoint of the ceremony which was attended by top dignitaries including a former Minister of Defence, Maj-General Godwin Abbe (rtd), among others, was the commissioning of the Training School and the Corporate Headquarters of the Revenue Service.