By Sarah NEGEDU
Revenue generating agencies in the FCT Administration have been asked to double their efforts in boosting their revenue base beyond that of Lagos state.
FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who gave the charge while delivering a keynote address at a stakeholders retreat in Lagos, tasked all stakeholders to work in harmony in achieving this target.
A statement from the information department of the FCTA quoted the minister as saying though the FCT isn’t fairing badly however, “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 potential 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.
On the controversy surrounding right of collection, 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.
“Several meetings have been conducted in this regard, and several decisions have been reached but we are not there yet. If we were home and dry on this knotty issue, we won’t be here.”
In his opening remarks the permanent secretary, who represented by director, Abuja Geographic Information Systems, AGIS, 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.
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, infrastructure 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.