GOVERNOR Peter Obi of Anambra State has added his voice to the recent calls by some state governments for more revenue from the Federation Accounts.
Obi spoke yesterday in Awka, the state capital, at a one-day sensitisation forum held by the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) on “Multiple taxation in Nigeria”.
The governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Austin Nnalue, stated that the Federal Government has over time usurped the revenue windows that should be the preserve of the states and local councils.
This, he added, had forced the second and third-tiers government to explore other additional sources of revenue, to the detriment of citizens and corporate entities.
The governor acknowledged the existence of multiple taxation regime in Anambra as in other states and the need for reforms in tax administration in the country.
However, the governor assured that there were on-going plans to streamline the tax system in order to eliminate multiple taxation.
In her appraisal report, a management consultant, Mrs. Ijeoma Ezeasor, observed that many states do not have reliable data on taxation.
She accused governments of tacitly encouraging the bottlenecks in tax administration through inadequate education and poor sensitisation of the public.
While acknowledging high incidence of tax evasion, the expert noted that “the crowded environment of operators breed arbitrariness, non-transparency, punitive enforcement, such that even unrelated security agents like the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) now dabble in revenue matters”.
In taxing companies, Ezeasor charged the governments to consider other indices like high cost of business, location, nature of business, number of jobs created, corporate social responsibility, insecurity and other challenges.
During the question-and-answer session, Robert Ezenwa of Ezenwa Plastics, noted that despite visits and personal assurances by Governor Obi to improve infrastructure on Ichi Street, Awada in Obosi, nothing has been done, thereby forcing businesses to relocate to neighbouring states.