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Abia Holds Revenue Summit To Boost Development

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

As part of efforts to streamline the payment of tax in the state, Abia State government has concluded plans to hold a revenue summit on July 10, 2014.

The essence of the maiden revenue summit in the state is also to provide an interface between the tax payers and government so as to formulate a new tax regime that would be acceptable by everybody.

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

Speaking in an interview in Umuahia, the Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Philip Nto explained that previously in the state, the situation was that government would formulate tax policies without consulting members of the public.

However, he pointed out that Governor T.A. Orji decided to adopt a more participatory approach where tax payers and the government would meet to chart the roadmap for the payment of tax.

“The major objective of the summit is just to validate the recommendation of a harmonisation committee that was set up earlier. You know multiple taxation has been a national issue.

“Around last year, the Nigeria Manufacturers Association wrote a petition to the Nigerian Economic Council (NEC) and based on that, NEC set up a ministerial implementation committee. The essence was to harmonise all the fees and levies collected in the country.

“In our own case, when I took over the mantle of leadership, the governor asked me to conduct a situation analysis to find out the extent of multiple taxation in Abia State. The study revealed that over 500 fees and levies are collected by the three tiers of government in the state,” Nto said.

Continuing, the commissioner added: “Therefore, the governor directed that the only way is for us to harmonise all of them. We found out that all the fees and levies were just talking the same thing.

“You see payments associated with sanitation ranging up to 50, payments talking about a particular service by government ranging up to 100 and they are all about the same. Based on that, the governor set up the harmonisation committee.”

The summit would be made up of representatives of trade unions, professional bodies, tax experts, among others.

“Everybody must pay tax but we all must be part of the decision process, it is not government alone. That is the global trend,” he said.



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