Mary Ekere

The Executive Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS, Mr Okon Okon  said his office may not only attend but surpass the targeted N25b  Internally Generated Revenue for 2020.

Mr Okon Okon made the assertion during AKIRS interaction with some Journalists at the Revenue House, Uyo after the first Board meeting held on Tuesday, 21st July, 2020.

The Executive Chairman attributed the possibility of realizing the said amount to the teamwork and dedication to duties as exhibited by staff of the Internal Revenue Service despite the adverse impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

Records has that the sum of N45b was aimed as IGR for the State in 2020 fiscal year before the outbreak of COVID-19 which caused the State Government to review the amount and the entire 2020 budgetary provision as earlier approved by the State’s Legislature.

Speaking further, Mr Okon said, “the essence of this interaction is to provide the media with feasibility information concerning tax policies, as we bring more revenue into the store house having just held the first Board meeting for the year 2020 due to the stall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He acknowledged Gov. Udom Emmanuel for granting tax relief for Akwa Ibom tax payers. He describe the gesture as timely considering the effect of the pandemic on people’s income. Adding that the action is in the best interest of Akwa Ibom people as the tax funds would have been channelled to developmental projects in the state.

“Tax relief was a decision presented to the Governor in council as the Chairman and meant for some sectors of the economy especially targeted at small scale, medium businesses and individuals to relief the pains, burdens and impacts of COVID-19 on them because, to a large extent, the individual tax payers and people in small scale businesses with maximum annual turnover of N5m are the greater beneficiaries of the tax relief.

“Tax relief is a tool in the hands of the government that can be exercised from time to time. The public cannot have one short tax relief that will meet all the aspirations and expectations of the taxpayers. so, it is going to be a continuous exercise on the need basis as His Excellency, the Governor so deems and will be announced from time to time. This is the first part of it and largely driven by the COVID-19 situation.”

The tax relief include “extension of deadline for filing of individual income tax return for 2019 from March 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020; Waiver of penalty and interest charged for late payment/remittances of taxes for 2020 tax year; Waiver of business premises levy and Economic Development levy respectively for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) with maximum annual turnover of N5million for 2020 tax year ending December 31, 2020.”

Others are: “suspension of specific road levies to include daily ticketing, stickers and emblems and haulage fees for 2020 tax year; granting of 25% discount on performance income tax for traders in all the markets for 2020 tax year.”

These reliefs are to help preserve taxpayers income in the categories affected to help them combat the adverse impact of this pandemic, the Chairman stated.

On the issue of daily ticketing faced by tricyclists, Mr Okon said the decision will be implemented by the Ministry of Transport.

In the other news, the tricycle operators  said they have engaged the Ministry in series of meetings in the past two weeks to have an understanding on the implication of the tax relief on their activities and are waiting for the outcome to be communicated through their respective Unions.

The Executive Chairman had further clarified that the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service had been granted full autonomy by the Governor made possible by the Akwa Ibom State Revenue Administration law, 2016 which had been signed into law.

“There is a difference between having full autonomy and implementing all the elements of the autonomy; we have implemented some parts and are currently in the process of implementing the remaining elements.

“In terms of timing, this is the best time to implement all the autonomy’s elements because as a people and State, this is the time that we need all the revenue that we can generate as this offer us ample time to realise the full potential of the autonomy,” he said.

Also, “AKIRS wants to build a self sustaining economy away from depending heavily on oil revenue which will make the revenue realised from oil to become an icing on the cake thus, relying largely on internally generated revenue.”

He expressed hope that Udom Emmanuel will like to invest in building capacities for the Internal Revenue Service to achieve more.

Whilst expressing appreciation to the Media Community, Mr Okon said “we consider the media as partners in progress. I am delighted and I value the relationship that we have with the media thus far. We do hope that this relationship will be maintained and flourish.”


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