There are a number of extremely important factors to consider…
By Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi
It is one thing for one to work smartly and assiduously to achieve something; it is another to use the achieved resources as the case maybe to fetch in more opportunities. There is no doubt in the fact that Nigerians are hard-working, and they so much cherish the products of their sweat. It’s however not understandable how hard-working people live and settle conveniently in a state where almost nothing works when, in advanced countries, hard work is matched with convenience. Then, we want to ask ourselves where the convenience that is supposed to match our hard work as Nigerians lie?
States have been fashioned out under the democratic rule to reduce the burden on the federal leadership, even though federal governments still have responsibilities to carry out in these states. In countries where things work, certain productive measures are being institutionalised in the state level which make the state independent financially; and when this happens, a whole lot can be done in the state to bring convenience to meet people’s toils. Kwara state is one of the 36 states in Nigeria and one of the states that works diplomatically and dynamically around improving the lives of her people in no small way, while also helping the state continue on the path of progress.
The continuation of the process of revamping the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State made the administration of the present Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, go the full hug. This he did by putting together the Kwara State Revenue Administration Bill which was sent to the House of Assembly last year. The bill was successfully passed by the House of Assembly and was signed into law by His Excellency, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, on the 22nd of June, 2015. The government found the creation of KWIRS an opportunity to gain more revenue to meet their expenditures around developing the State and making her people’s toil convenient. It would also liberate the State from the shackles of being broke, as federal allocation to the State among others is dwindling.
If KWIRS must live up to its standard, then it should have capable hands working for the sole reason of its creation. The government in town then found this institution not only qualified hands, but men whose integrity nothing can buy, under the leadership of Dr Muritala O. Awodun, the man who has been turning things around positively. The mission of this revolutionized cause which is to mobilize revenue for the strategic development of Kwara State would definitely meet challenges as Nigerians are not blessed with the patience of having to sacrifice the money they work hard to gain without seeing anything for it. What remains thus is how this cause would materialise.
The leadership of KWIRS set out to meet traditional leaders to help them with the campaign for people to pay their tax to help the State climb heights of progress. They met traditional leaders like the Emir of Ilorin, the Emir of Kaima among many other traditional rulers who supported them on the cause by promising to pay their taxes too. This strategy didn’t only win them the support of the traditional rulers, but their people were also convinced on the benefits paying tax would bring. If you toil hard to get what you need, and you contribute a token from your hard-earned money to the development of your state, you get that token back in manifold, this is the idea KWIRS pitched to the public.
One important thing Nigerians fail to appreciate is the fact that tax collection is very crucial for any State or Nation that wants to progress. The collected taxes are channelled at ensuring the progress of the state and the well-being of her people. KWIRS has vowed that it would serve the residents of Kwara State in the most convenient strategies which will add value and integrity to the revenue mobilization process and actualize the developmental objectives of the government. What else should one expect? But in a country where almost nothing works, nobody wants to drop their money only to see nothing. And who are we to blame Nigerians who think this way?
The core values of KWIRS have continued to guide their services as honesty, integrity, responsibility and trust are the lights that glow from the image they present to the society. This institution led by Dr Muritala O. Awodun has continued to live up to its standard by working assiduously in ensuring they meet up with targets that would help residents of Kwara State live meaningfully. This man and his team have collected a total of ₦8.09 billion into the coffers of the State for the first half of 2016 alone. It’s important to note this figure is higher than the total ₦7.2 billion collected for 2015 by the defunct Board of Internal Revenue in the State. It is also interesting to know that PAYE collection has increased from ₦200 million to ₦450 million. With no mincing and missing of words, Awodun is the real MVP and he deserves an award.
Indigenes in Kwara state have in no small measure benefitted from this profitable exercise, ranging from road repair to rebuilding of shopping outlets and other developmental objectives of the government they have breathed life into. It can thus be concluded that paying tax at the right time would only bring about convenience for our toils, as this would help government put in place necessary things to improve the standard of living of the people, which no doubt brings convenience to the people, even as they toil to earn their living.
Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi is a Youth Leader, Business Consultant and Digital Marketer. He is the Executive Director, Brain Builders International- A United Nation accredited Non Governmental Organisation(www.brainbuilders.com.ng). He can be reached on +2347068775529 or firstname.lastname@example.org