The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that his administration has no plan to increase taxes in the state, noting that the state seeks inclusiveness and participation from citizens in revenue generation and administration.
The governor gave the assurance after a closed-door meeting with stakeholders in tax administration at the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS) head office in Benin City.
Obaseki’s visit to EIRS office follows the expiration of the tenure of the board, led by Igbinidu Inneh.
He said the state’s revenue service needs to be re-energized before the appointment of a new board.
The governor said the ratio of people who pay taxes compared to the taxable population in the state is very small, noting, “There is no need to increase taxes. What we need to do is to engender citizen participation and achieve inclusiveness. Today, the ratio of citizens who pay taxes relative to the population is very, very small and the burden is only on a few persons who pay tax.”
“Everybody who has a source of income, by law, should pay money to the state. That is what we are trying to do by ensuring that everybody pays something directly to the state government’s treasury,” he said.
Obaseki continued: “We want to make sure that we re-energize the service. Right now, we are not meeting our budget in terms of revenue collection in the state. There are still lots of leaks. We believe that we can achieve better efficiency by restructuring the way revenue is collected in the state.
“The meeting today is to meet with members of staff of EIRS, work with them and redesign the revenue collection system in the state. Before now, it was quite centralized. What we are looking at is to have a team with almost semi-independent offices across the 18 local government areas of the state that will be responsible for all the taxes that will be collected in that area.”
“The other reform that we are looking at is to collaborate with the local government, so that we can consolidate both the taxes the local government is supposed to collect and the one accruable to the state. That way, we can reduce the burden on our citizens,” he said.