By Ray Udeagbala
No organized nation in living memory has been able to achieve any enviable development status without taxation. In other words, no nation can make progress without taxes.
Taxation is the basis of the contract between the people and government. It is the hallmark of the responsibility they share. So important is taxation that the celebrated Benjamin Franklin once mooted: “there were only two things certain in life, death and taxes”.
One dares to avow that if public services must be provided, then taxes must of necessity be paid.
The ding dong in tax matters has always been the natural aversion of humans to spending money; their reluctance to being dictated to on how their money should be spent, and finally their doubtful conception of how their money is used.
In the light of all these, the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AiRS) has been working assiduously to humanize the tax payment and collection system by automating the processes thereby infusing so much accountability, transparency and morality into the enterprise and it is obviously paying off.
It has introduced various technological innovations to ensure easy collection of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and block all loopholes in the process. Some of these include automation of the entire system system and block all loopholes in the process.
IGR administration for accountability, implementation of a dashboard system to effectively report revenue collection’s real time thereby blocking avenues for illegal revenue collection and the establishment of Anambra State Social Identity (ANSSID) number that enables every “onye Anambra” to be enrolled to the State database for proper accountability, and creation of the Stamp Duty Office which administers, collects and recovers stamp duties on transaction between Anambra citizens within the State.
Yet another revenue generation mechanism; we also have the AIRS; the integrated Billing System that harmonizes all revenue bills including those for Anambra State Waste Management Authority (ASWAMA), Anambra Signage Agency (ANSAA), Business Premises, Fire Service Compliance bill etc etc into one.
This helps tax payers in the State ease the burden of paying their bills directly into the State Government Account using their ANSSID number and blocking the avenue for multiple taxation as well as check illegal revenue collections.
Another innovation is the implementation of the Scratch Card Scheme for what it calls “flying revenues,” call it mobile revenues like those collected from keke, shuttle operators and even moving vehicles without parks.
This scheme ensures that all tickets generate on road, highways are accounted for, that all the monies generated go direct to government coffers. These innovations have contributed in no small measure in improving on the State IGR by avoiding waste, curtailing illegal revenue collection and ensuring that whatever amount generated goes to government.
In the same vein the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service has taken yet additional bold steps to further improve revenue generation through efficient management of tax payers (establishing harmonious relationship with them), blocking all illegal revenue collections, better enforcement without much coercion, and establishing more cordial relationship with development partners.
The importance of technology in tax administration cannot be over emphasized. This device makes it easy for ndi Anambra to meet up with their tax obligations. With full automation AIRS tax administration processes ranging from registration, filing of returns, making payments and tax assessment as well as issuance of receipts and certificates and verifications have become easy.
Technology deployment makes assessability of AIRS services easy for people. Ndi Anambra now register and obtain ANSSID numbers, file clearance certificates, and even payment receipts without laboring themselves going to the Revenue House Personally. They perform these services from the comfort of their homes.
AIRS Management has said it will begin enforcement of collection of all outstanding tax bills in the State from 1st April this year.
AIRS Chief Executive, Richard Madiebo said in a statement in Awka that the enforcement will include social bills including signages and waste management.
The statement urges ndi Anambra to check ANSSID portal for their status to ensure the appropriate tax filings. It adds that AIRS enforcement team will begin enforcing payment of taxes and levies and advised them to check their ANSSID status to confirm if they’ve paid.
A cursory look at the vital role IGR plays in nation building easily explains the great importance of AIRS in the socio-economic development of Anambra State. The State Revenue House therefore needs as its helmsman a competent hand, a strong head and one who possesses the experience and capacity to deliver.
Leaders are born not made. They are endowed with those exceptional attributes of courage, assiduity, resilience and selflessness. With the seriousness and actions already exhibited so far by the AIRS Richard Madiebo, it becomes certain that he falls into this category. Under him, AIRS’ll deliver on its mandate.
Ndi Anambra must endeavour to pay their taxes and levies to enable the State government serve them better without solely depending on the Federal allocation.
Ray Udeagbara, a public affairs analyst, writes from Awka