INSIDEMAINLAND – Stakeholders have indicated that in order to improve collection and boost internally produced revenue, revenue committees in Lagos State’s local government (LG) and local council development (LCD) districts will follow the professional standards of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) (IGR).
The stakeholders who are involved in the local government revenue collection system made this statement at a workshop conducted to discuss the possibility of professionalising revenue collecting in the local government and local council development sectors.
In his remarks at the workshop, LIRS Chairman Mr. Ayo Subair emphasized constitutional principles that grant local governments the authority to raise money.
Subair cited the Local Government (Approved Levies) Law of 2010 and the Fourth Schedule and Sections 162 of the 1999 Constitution as laws requiring local governments to operate professionally in the estimating, assessment, and collection of revenues.
The Station Manager for Ikeja, Mr. Segun Tijani, who was the LIRS boss’ representative, stated that Section 6 (4) of the Local Government Approved Levies Law stipulates that “the revenue agent to be appointed by the local government authority should be a chartered tax practitioner or have as the head of its tax unit, a chartered practitioner.”
Subair informed the participants that the House of Assembly passed the State and Local Government Public Finance and Management Law, which included a provision for a Local Government Revenue Committee in section 57, to further protect revenue collection.
According to him, local governments’ poor management of revenue collection caused the state government a lot of problems and prompted lawmakers to pass legislation designating the state as the councils’ agent for collecting fees for land use, signage, and advertising, as well as, more recently, for managing parks.
Despite the difficulties, Subair offered nine strategies to help the council areas manage their finances professionally so they could live up to the expectations of their constituents.
These include of training, internships, following the law, offering rewards for achieving goals, issuing badges to make it simpler to identify revenue workers, acceptance and use of technology, the establishment of criteria for hiring consultants, and quick career advancement.
In his remarks to participants, Mr. Bicci Alli, a former board secretary of the LIRS, advised council areas to establish and uphold professionalism in revenue collection in order to inspire the state to have more faith in their capacity to collect their revenues.
He stated that the local government system, is the only one of the federal structure’s levels whose revenues are generated in accordance with the Constitution and do not require approval from either the National Assembly or the state House of Assembly.
Alli, who, at various times, chaired the state internal revenue services of Osun and Oyo explained that modern revenue collection requires skills in technology, data gathering, analysis, accounting, and statistics.
He said there are taxation applications that can be deployed to enumerate and estimate the taxable population to promote efficiency.
The workshop participants adopted the revenue committee model of Igbogbo-Baiyeku LCDA and the need to define the boundaries between the traditional authorities and the local government currently in progress at Ejigbo LCDA following the presentation of both chairmen, Hon. Sesan Daini and Hon. Monsuru Bello Obe respectively.
Daini explained how his decision to set up an independent revenue committee with its staff increased the council’s revenue from N70 million in 2017 to N180million last year.
Obe suggested that the workshop should also involve traditional rulers to enlighten them on the limits of their powers over revenue items in the local government.
Reviewing the presentations, the Director of Local Governments, Razaak Amodu, who represented the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Governments & Community Affairs, Hon. Robert Kayode and the Commissioner in the Lagos State Local Governments Commission, Hon. Olubowale Sosimi, who stood in for the chairman, Hon. Kamal Baiyewu praised the LIRS for sponsoring the workshop and adding value to the performance of the local governments.
The Council Treasurer of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, Mr. Adebiyi, who chairs the body of treasurers, said the workshop has revealed that there are laws to support the professional management of revenue collection in councils and that it is feasible to raise revenue by implementing them.
He urged the chairmen to make sure that the statutory obligations of treasurers are protected and committed the support of council treasurers as members of the revenue committees to its success.
Speaking on behalf of the local government’s human resources officers, Dr. B.O. Alli-Balogun praised LIRS for the initiative and urged council chairmen to approve further funding for the workshop’s goal of educating revenue collectors in the new skills.
The Surulere Local Government Area’s Council Treasurer, Mrs. Taiwo Danso, asked the conference of local government chairmen to organize a second workshop on the implementation of the revenue committee structure based on the Igbogbo-Baiyeku model in her vote of appreciation.