By Lydia Ngwakwe
The Federal Capital Territory-Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) has assembled stakeholders in Lagos to harmonise taxes and levies, in order to address the issue of multiple taxation in FCT.
The Executive Chairman of the FCT-IRS, Mr Abdullahi Attah, at the stakeholders retreat in Lagos on Tuesday, said the harmonisation would help boost revenue generation in the territory.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day retreat is tbemed: “Towards a Harmonised Revenue Management Framework in the FCT”.
Attah explained that his agency could not continue to work in isolation, hence it decided to meet with stakeholders and chart a new approach of working to achieve their shared objectives.
He said the need for harmonised systems, structures, processes and procedures in the territory could never be over-emphasised.
“When the issue of harmonised systems or a framework is discussed in the FCT, there is usually some concern about what its sought to be achieved.
“The Area Councils, as we know are autonomous and self-governing, however, we all form part of the FCT administration, with a focus on providing services to indigenes and residents of the territory.
“The issue therefore is how best to work together within the existing governance system in the FCT and ensure that we are able to pool resources, utilise existing systems, know-how and even data to enable us maximise the revenue generation potentials of the FCT-IRS.
“In doing this, we do not believe that any one organisation within the FCT administration has all the information and knowledge, but if we work together, then we will improve collaboration, exchange of information and subsequently enhance our ability to improve revenue generation and management within the FCT,” he explained.
Alhaji Muhammad Bello, the FCT Minister, said that the FCTA was aware of challenges associated with claims over rights of revenue collection in the territory and attendant issues of multiple taxation.
Bello, represented by Mr Olusade Adesola, tbe FCT Permanent Secretary, said these multiple taxations was capable of eroding confidence and encouraging discouragement from tax payers.
According to him, the task before the participants is simple but very essential and esteemed, which is “efficient collection and effective management of our internal revenue”.
“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, am I right?
“I am sure our Area Council Chairmen or their representatives and other stakeholders are also very concerned about this, and on this page in this matter.
“I therefore strongly urge us to make judicious use of this trip to Lagos. Let posterity be kind to us, and remember us for bringing lasting solutions to this lingering problem.
“We must work out a mutually acceptable mechanism that is fool-proof, such that can block all loopholes in the collection of our huge revenue resources,” he said.
Besides, the minister urged stakeholders to explore ways on how revenue fallow areas could be expanded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was attended by some members of National Assembly, representatives of revenue generating agencies in FCT and council chairmen, among other stakeholders. (NAN)