By Unue Emeka,
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has said an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), remains the most reliable means of bridging the gap arising from the challenges of dwindling revenue from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
He stated this during the 2021 edition of Maris Annual Public Service Lecture held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba on Wednesday.
According to Governor Okowa whose keynote speech was read by the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Hon. Chika Ossai, the importance of IGR to the running of government was too obvious to be subjected to debate, adding that the performance of tax administration was equally an important factor that had an influence on the scores of other elements of governance.
He disclosed that the ability of the states to stay afloat and be able to meet competing demands of both the state and the federal government entailed the three criteria of equity, simplicity and efficiency, for effective tax administration.
The governor said that a good tax administration system served as a means towards the redistribution of wealth, as does social spending on programmes designed to overcome poverty and inequality, adding that the tax regime should not overburden the very poor citizens, who were trying to eke out daily living.
Governor Okowa commended Maris Trust Council for this initiative, expressing satisfaction and hope that God would provide the enablement to sustain the lecture series and implore the discussants to proffer solutions on how best to improve tax administration.
In a lecture titled, “Effective Tax Administration For The Delivery Of Democratic Dividends,” delivered by the Chairman, Delta State Internal Revenue Service (DSIRS), Sir Monday Onyeme, he described the government as a family, which saw the overall well-being of its members and does not do business in the classical sense, adding that the richer the members of the family, the more sizeable their contributions and the more prosperous they be.
Onyeme said that the only alternative to funding source open to the government was tax, which was defined to be a monetary contribution by every income earner to government towards the funding of development projects and provision of service.
Onyeme stated that the benefits of taxation were huge, adding that it puts the government not only in the position to embark on development projects but to intervene and provide necessary relief in times of distress.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Kennedy Kanma, observed that the topic was well chosen and commended Maris Trust Council for organising the annual lecture.
Earlier, the Chairman of Maris Trust Council, Chief Kenneth Olise in an address read on his behalf by Hon. Emmanuel Udorah, expressed confidence that there is always a lot to be learnt from the lecture series.
The discussants at the lecture, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. (Barr.) Orezi Esievo of the DEMSA, among others, spoke passionately and professionally about how to approach the issue of tax.
Dr. Kemi Emina, who has moderated the lecture in two consecutive times provided rooms for questions to be asked by the audience.
Some of those who attended the lecture were the Mother of the Day, Dr. (Mrs) Comfort Omon-Irabor, the Spiritual Father of the Day, Very Revd. Fr. John Konyeke; Rear Admiral Mike Ojinika Onah (rtd), Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ochor Ochor (represented), the House of Assembly Member Representing Ndokwa West Constituency, Hon Charles Emetulu, Hon. Azuka Azaka, Chief Fidelis Tilije, the Communication Manager to Delta State Government, Mr Jackson Ekwugum, Lady May Inije, former Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief Emma Ejiofor, Delta State Head of Service, Mr Reginald Bayoko (represented), Chief Henry Okechukwu, Chief Christopher Oyemike, Mr Monday Uwagwu, Chief Dele Omenogor, Mr Alexander Osadebe, Hon. Obi Kelvin Ezenyili, among numerous others.