From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS) yesterday began a two-day training for the newly elected local government chairmen on the state’s Tax and Codification Law 2016.
The Executive Chairman of the Board, Mukhtar Ahmed, said at the opening of the event in Kaduna that the training was meant to ensure the support of the councils’ chairmen for improved revenue generation.
Ahmed said that three years after enacting the law, many stakeholders did not understand the document and called for increased enlightenment of participants.
“As new chairmen and chief executives of their respective LGAs, there is the need to enlighten them about the document so that they can understand it and implement the law as expected.
“We need to cooperate and work as a team if we are to make any headway in revenue generation. The retreat, therefore, provides an avenue for us to interact and know ourselves.
“But our major concern is for the chairmen to understand the law and effectively implement it and I assure you our revenue will greatly improve,” he said.
The board chairman said that the state revenue generation had greatly improved since the introduction of the law in 2016 which domiciled revenue collection on KDIRS, automated tax payment and banned cash collection.
“Following blockages in revenue collection, courtesy of the law, our revenue has increased from between N600 to N700 million a month in 2015 to an average of about N3.0 billion at present,” Ahmed said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state’s House of Assembly Committee on Finance, Bello Gimi, said that the law consolidated all revenue collection with the agency to block leakages.
“KDIRS will collect revenues on behalf of the local government areas and remit what is due to the LGAs at the end of the month.
“This retreat will, therefore, not only help the council chairmen to understand the law, but how to maximise revenue generation in their respective LGAs,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Muhammad Abdullahi, urged the council chairmen to support the government’s drive for improved revenue generation.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the Director of Budget in the commission, Mrs Jummai Bako, said that the state wanted to attain a level where it would no longer depend on the allocation from the federation account.
Abdu Kwari, the state Commissioner for Finance, said that the ongoing reform in public finance with the treasury single account, zero-based budgeting and the new tax law, among others, were yielding the desired results.
Kwari, who was represented by the state Accountant-General, Umar Hassan, solicited the support of the council chairmen to move the state forward.
One of the participants, Dr Elias Manza, the Chairman of Zangon Kataf Local Government area, said that retreat would equip them with the needed knowledge of the operation of the law and how to generate revenue.
Manza said that allocation from the federation account was not sufficient to pay salaries and carry out development projects.