SPEECH BY H.E. RT. HON. (DR) SIMON BAKO LALONG, KSGG, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU AT THE INAUGURATION OF PLATEAU STATE REVENUE COUNCIL AND THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE PLATEAU STATE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE HELD AT THE NEW GOVERNMENT HOUSE, LITTLE RAYFIELD JOS, 25TH MARCH 2021.
- Today marks another milestone in our journey as a State, towards improved revenue generation and self-sufficiency. This event provides me an opportunity to set the tone for the full implementation of the new Plateau State (Consolidated) Revenue Law, also known as the Revenue Law 2020, which I expeditiously assented to, in November 2020.
- It is no longer news that there has been a remarkable decline in revenue allocation to States, from the Federation Account. This is primarily occasioned by the continuous fall in crude oil prices in the international market, and most recently, the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic which has ravaged the world for over a year now.
- Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our administration has continued to make frantic efforts towards improving the revenue profile of the State by looking inwards for more internally generated revenue. Instructively, experts’ projections indicate that Plateau State has an internal revenue capacity of more than N5 Billion Naira per month.
- This explains why before the disruption caused by COVID-19, our administration was able to jerk up its Internally Generated Revenue from about six hundred million naira monthly in 2015 to about nine hundred million in 2019. This shows that the projection by experts is in the right direction and we can actually do far more than we have been doing if we put our house in order.
- Over the years, the decentralized operation of State MDAs and other revenue generating agencies have created structural and technical gaps, which reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of revenue generation and collection in the State.
- In line with my firm resolve to address this challenge and improve the revenue profile of our dear State, my administration engaged Compliance Professionals Plc. (CPP), a reputable tax consortium, to help steer the transformation of revenue administration across the State, including at Local Government levels.
- Our engagement with CPP led to an in-depth assessment of the current state of the IGR environment in Plateau State and the dissection of the 2017 Revenue Law which gave birth to the new Plateau State (Consolidated) Revenue Law, also known as the Revenue Law 2020, which I signed into law at the close of 2020. I want to once again appreciate the Rt. Hon. Speaker and Honourable Members of the State House of Assembly for their thorough and expeditious passage of the bill.
- This journey has led to the development and implementation of the plan to effectively transit from the current state to a harmonized internal revenue generation and collection system, thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness and significantly increasing bottom lines.
- As a result of this, a new and viable template called Plateau State Revenue Generation Project has been developed by the CPP. This is expected to be a game changer because it seeks to completely rethink the way and manner in which revenues in the state are generated and ultimately make Plateau an example for other States to emulate.
- A very vital part of the project approach and organization is the Harmonized Revenue Administration Process Redesign (HRAPR). This approach seeks to Implement the right revenue administration process across all MDAs and LGCs, and ultimately across all main revenue lines with priority on areas of high revenue capture. The main aim is to ensure that changes in this project are institutionalized.
- Consequently, the project is broken down into series of goals or waves. The First Focus Wave which covers the period of February to July 2021, recommends the Implementation of a New Administrative Structure and Revenue Council for the State. Today, we are here to usher in part of this new structure that will change the revenue profile of the State for good.
- One of the major objectives of the Revenue Law 2020 is to ensure effective and efficient revenue generation, by creating a New Organizational Structure for Plateau State Internal Revenue Service, revenue generating MDAs and Revenue Departments in all the 17 Local Government Areas. With this development, new Revenue Units are to be created to consolidate the efforts of employees of Plateau State Government particularly those in the revenue stream.
- That is why within the Plateau State Internal Revenue Service, the reform has provided for 5 Directorates, to be headed by Directors with such qualifications provided in the Scheme of Service for the PSIRS.
Together with the Secretary and Legal adviser, they are to provide support to the Executive Chairman of the Service, in order to carry out all the responsibilities provided for by Section 17 of the Revenue Law 2020.
- Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, today we are taking another giant step towards the full commencement of the “Revenue Law” by inaugurating the Governing Board of the Plateau State Internal Revenue Service and the Revenue Council of the State. Pursuant to section 32 (2) of the Plateau State Revenue (Consolidated) Law 2020, an 18-man Revenue Council was approved, which I am to Chair. The Council shall be responsible for:
i. Coordinating all revenue activities in the State;
ii. Making policies, regulations and guidelines on revenue matters;
iii. Setting up structures for whistle blowing;
iv. Reviewing revenue rates;
v. As well as identifying other sources of funding for the state.
- We have carefully selected Members of this Council to provide the required leadership in changing the revenue trajectory of the State. Membership of the Council is as follows:
a. Prof. Danladi Abok Atu, Secretary to the Government of the State – Secretary to the Council
b. Commissioner for Finance (Member)
c. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development(Member)
d. Commissioner for Lands, Survey & Town Planning (Member)
e. Commissioner for Commerce and Industry (Member)
f. Commissioner for Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development (Member)
i. Commissioner for Tourism (Member)
j. Commissioner for Transport (Member)
k. Commissioner for Water Resources (Member)
l. Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning (Member)
m. Commissioner for Justice (Member)
n. Chairman, Plateau State Internal Revenue Service (Member)
o. Plateau State Traditional Council (Member)
p. Mr. Ibrahim Puri (Member)
r. Mr. Miyen Swomen (Member)
s. Dr. Nancy Katu Ogundimu (representing Civil Societies) (Member)
t. Bashir Shuaibu Jibrin (representing the Informal Sector) (Member)
- We have equally approved the composition of the Governing Board for the Plateau State Internal Revenue Service. Members of the Board include:
a. Mr. Dashe Arlat Dasogot – Chairman
b. Prof. Danladi Abok Atu, Secretary to the Government of the State – Member
c. Barr. Chrysantus Ahmadu, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Plateau State – Member
d. Mr. Ishaku Dauda (Southern Zone) – Member
e. Mr. B.S Moltok (Central Zone) – Member
f. Mrs. Sarah Ishaya Afan (Northern Zone) – Member
i. Barr. Mrs. Rahila Olu-Silas – Secretary to the Board
- While the Council and the Governing Board settle down to business of changing the revenue profile of the State for good, I wish to appeal to all our citizens to cooperate with us in this journey. We have a lot of projects to carry out and the resources need to harnessed. The days of looking up to Abuja are over because the national purse is also depleted.
- I am aware of the concerns that trail revenue generation among citizens who sometimes want to know what their resources are being used for. As your Governor, I can assure you that every kobo will not only be accounted for, but used for projects and programmes that have direct impact on your lives.
- In order to ensure that revenues do not go into the wrong hands, the new approach will be totally driven by technology where there will be real time monitoring of collections at all levels. We shall do everything possible to make life easier for tax payers in our State.
- Already, we have put in place various measures to block leakages, and enhance transparency and accountability in resource management. Some of these include the Procurement Agency; Liquidity Management Committee; Project Monitoring and Result Delivery Unit; Efficiency Unit among others. We have equally redefined our expenditure focus to give more attention to areas that will bring in more income and investment to the State.
- Let me also allay the fears of all law abiding citizens over the introduction of new taxes in this new dispensation. Our focus for now is to first ensure that areas that have been neglected in the past are harvested as provided by law. If and when there are new ones to be introduced, we shall ensure that everyone is carried along and it is done in a manner that does not lay a burden on the people or emasculate businesses.
- As I congratulate you for accepting to serve in these assignments, I ask you to give your best by deploying your experience and knowledge in ensuring that Plateau State generates more funds to carry out projects that impact the lives of the people. You are to consider it as a trust given you by the people of Plateau State.
[MEMBERS STAND TO BE INAUGURATED]
- It is now my honour and privilege to inaugurate members of the Plateau State Revenue Council and the Governing Board of the Plateau Inland Revenue Service to the Glory of God and for the benefit of the people of Plateau State.
- God bless Plateau State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. (Dr) Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG,
25th March, 2021.
Photos; Josiah Jenvulu