To improve its Internal Generated Revenue [IGR], Delta State Government today February 18, held an interactive session with members of the informal sector groups in Asaba, with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa observing that payment of tax is the civic responsibility of all citizens.
Okowa stated that all citizens should see payment of tax not as a witch hunt but a civic responsibility which they are obligated to carry out adding that there was the need to capture all citizens of tax paying age into the tax net especially members of the informal sector so as to improve the state’s revenue base.
“Payment of tax is the responsibility of every citizens, the law of taxation has been in existence and government needs to dialogue with the informal sector on how to pay tax, as a people-oriented government, we will partner with different groups, societies and unions in the collection of the taxes that will be paid by citizens in the state and they will be assessed according to the size of their businesses”, he said.
Continuing, “There are a lot of wealthy Deltans that do not pay tax and we are going to make sure that they get involved in tax paying; it is not going to be a witch hunt or is it to punish anyone but someone who rides expensive cars and their tax is not commensurate to their earnings, that is not good enough; some people do not even pay at all and that is not right because in every society the small earners will pay according to what they earn while the big earners will pay according to what they earn”.
He explained that apart from the formal sector especially the civil servants, most informal sector members pay little or no tax to the state promising to ensure that all Deltans pay taxes commensurate with their status.
Senator Okowa who unveiled the Resident Card that would be issued to tax payers assured the various informal groups that the state government would partner with them in the collection and utilisation of the tax explaining that the resident card will enable the tax payer to be identified as Deltans and benefit from various government programmes including microcredit scheme, job creation, health insurance as well as bursary and scholarship schemes.
He promised the various informal groups of government patronage in the development of infrastructure and the disbursement of micro credit to the people.
Earlier, Olorogun David Edevbie, Commissioner for Finance who gave an overview on “Dwindling Revenue Sources: Our Collective Responsibility” said that there was the need to improve the state’s IGR and bring the informal sector into the tax net to ensure improved funding while Mr. Obayemi Oladipo, Managing Director, Queensbridge Capital Investment Limited explained that cutting edge technology would be deployed for proper collection and utilisation of taxes.