News Update

Revenue: Anambra to Introduce Artificial Intelligence Parks

…As UHBET Management Dismisses 2 Personnel for Manhandling Commercial Driver

By Jude Atupulazi and Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

In order to halt the seeming intractable menace of touting in the commercial city of Onitsha and other cities, the Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue Service, AIRS, is planning to introduce artificial intelligence parks in major markets and parks across the state. This is according to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AIRS, Ogbuefi Dr Greg Ezeilo, who addressed newsmen in his office in Awka, Monday.

According to Ezeilo who also announced the dismissal of two employees of the office over manhandling of a commercial driver in Onitsha, his office planned to fully automate all the parks, starting with the first one he was just implementing now.

His words, ‘The parks must be perimeter walled, entry and exist. Now, at the entry point, we have the device, the machine which you have to put your card and when you put your card, it’s two ways: either you pay before you enter or you have already uploaded your wallet and the machine checks your wallet and finds out that you are up to date with your IGR payment and it opens and you enter. When you are leaving the park, the same thing happens; it opens, you leave.

‘The other way is when you are paying your toll on a daily basis, when you come, you place and take the ticket and pay at the kiosk or you stand where you are, use a USSD and send the money to a dedicated account and once it hits the account, the bar raises and you drive past.

It gives you a ticket; that ticket allows you to go out of the park after loading. So these are the two modules we are going to operate; either on a daily toll basis or you fill your wallet. As soon as you fill your wallet, you have a card. If you come there, you place your card, it shows green and you pass, if it shows red, you have to reverse or load your wallet and make your payment and then go.’

He also used the opportunity to announce the dismissal of two staff members of the Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team (UHBET), who were involved in manhandling a commercial vehicle driver in Onitsha recently and whose action had gone viral on the social media.

The two sacked Staff of UHBET who acted on behalf of the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AiRS) were seen in the said viral video molesting a man who tried to evade tax, a development that drew wide condemnations from the citizenry.

But reacting to that Ezeilo, in announcing their dismissal, said he would continue to remove every wolf in the midst of the sheepfold once discovered.

He noted that the dismissal was the second since the formation of UHBET, emphasizing that UHBET personnel should as a matter of obligation continue to undergo steady training and retraining for professional cum standard enforcement approach to work.

His words, ‘We are not unaware of the mud that this has rubbed on the efforts of our dear Solution Governor, the people of Anambra State and the unrepentant determination of UHBET Management to give Ndi Anambra, a professional touch where taxes and government revenues are paid without hassles.

‘Our apologies also go to the Management and Staff of ITEKPE LINE whose staff was the victim of such abuse.

‘We, are therefore so sorry for that act of misconduct while we solemnly promise that such will never happen again. Ndi Anambra, this is not who we are and such unruly behaviour will never be condoned under whatever guise.

‘Ndi Anambra cannot be allowed to keep experiencing same treatment that they had in the hands of touts. We are glad that UHBET as a responsive organization, believes so much in continuous training and retraining of its workforce.

‘In a swift move to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of such unprofessional conduct, the UHBET leadership had in response to the public outcry gathered useful and helpful information which led to the successful arrest of its members of staff involved in that shameful act. We truly appreciate all who responded to our request regarding the details of the unfortunate incident.

‘We wish by this official statement to inform the general public and Anambra taxpayers in particular that those responsible for that show of shame have been dismissed from the State Tax Compliance Enforcement Team after being seriously quizzed by the top echelon of UHBET Management,’ he concluded.

For his part, Hon Barr Jude Ngobili, the Chairman of Anambra State House of Assembly’s House-Committee on IGR, thanked the state government for its quick response and also praised the UHBET leadership for taking the decision to remove errant officials.