Determined to meet the revenue targets for the full implementation of the 2022 budget of Enugu State in spite of the nation’s challenges bordering on economy, security and public health, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has enjoined Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to raise their performance bar and re-strategize on meeting their revenue targets as contained in the approved 2022 budget of the state.
Gov. Ugwuanyi also urged the MDAs to set up monitoring mechanisms that would track all revenue generated by them towards the actualization of their targets.
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Speaking while declaring open a one-day Summit on achieving Enugu State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target for 2022 Fiscal year, held at the Base Event Centre, Enugu, on Tuesday, the governor canvassed the establishment of an annual revenue index of every MDA in the state.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, Gov. Ugwuanyi stressed the importance of the Summit to identify the challenges faced by poorly performing MDAs and deliberate on ways to improve on their activities with a view to meeting the 2022 revenue target for funding of the budget.
Stressing the state government’s determination towards growing its IGR to create a socio-economic system not so dependent on federal allocation, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that his administration has grown the state’s IGR by 50 percent without any increased tax burden on the people or businesses.
“Furthermore, a 2019 Report showed Enugu State as 3rd in the Federation after Lagos and River states in terms of fiscal sustainability. Also, a report by Ernst and Young, a globally acclaimed auditing firm, rated Enugu State first in the Federation on grounds of fiscal discipline, prudence and accountability”, he added.
The governor commended the Chairman of Enugu State Internal Revenue Service (ESIRS), Prince Emeka Odo and his team for the timely Summit, expressing confidence that, at the end of the strategic event, the challenges faced by major revenue generating MDAs will be analyzed and solutions proffered to enhance revenue generation for delivery of more democratic dividends to the people of the state.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of ESIRS, Prince Odo explained that the Summit was organized by the agency in collaboration with Enugu State Economic Planning Commission to review the performance of the MDAs in the past three years, inform each revenue generating MDA of its revenue target for 2022, and formulate and agree on strategies for achieving the targets as well as harmonize their revenue heads.
Prince Odo who applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the impressive performance of ESIRS last year, revealed that the agency collected a total IGR of N26,700,000.00 as against a target of N29,000,000.00 as contribution of IGR to the funding of the 2021 budget, representing a 92 percent budget performance and a 13 percent improvement over that of the 2020 fiscal year.
According to the Chairman, “This performance is commendable and all of us in this room have every reason to be proud of this achievement. However, the bulk of the credit for the improving IGR figures in Enugu State goes to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, considering the huge financial, structural and logistic support you have extended not only to the Revenue Service but to all revenue generating MDAs in the state.
“In six years, the present administration has radically reformed the Revenue Service, transforming it from a manual, laid back government agency to an automated, modern revenue service run on the wheels of best business principles.
“You have approved and provided funding for the installation of an Integrated Tax Management System in the Revenue Service, automating tax filling, assessment, collection and accounting; put in place a continuous recruitment process through which the manpower base of the Service is refreshed and rejuvenated, provided a fleet of vehicles to boost the logistic efficiency and effectiveness of the Service and institutionalized a monthly financial incentive scheme for all staff of the Service to reward hard work and productivity”.
In her goodwill message, the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Ada-Onah Kene-Uyawunne, stated that the Summit became imperative in view of the advice by the World Bank that states should concentrate on what they grow internally instead of relying solely on what they get outside in terms of earnings from the federation account.
The Finance Commissioner noted that growing of revenue is not about increasing taxation, but about cutting cost, harmonization of taxes and harnessing of resources.
On his part, the Commissioner for Budget, Dr. David Ugwunta, thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for approving the Summit, highlighting its benefits towards the funding of the 2022 budget.
Dr. Ugwunta maintained that the IGR is needed to meet up with the recurrent expenditures, pointing out that the governor has been passionate and committed to regular payment of workers’ salaries, pensions and subventions.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Financial Matters, Sir Paschal Okolie spoke in the same direction, recounting that the present administration in Enugu State has kept faith with the reformative and innovative agenda of the State Internal Revenue Service, adding that the state government had paid salaries of workers on several occasions without receipt of federal allocations.
Also present at the event were the State Accountant General, Sir Remigus Odo, the General Manager of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Hon. Chukwuemelie Agu, the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Economic Planning Commission, Nnanyelugo Dan Onyishi, and the Managing Director, Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Dr. Sam Ogbu Nwobodo.
Others include the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance; the Accountant General; the Executive Secretary, the Enugu State Economic Planning Commission; the Chairman of the Enugu State Internal Revenue Service; all Directors in the Service; the Permanent Secretary and Directors of Finance of all the major revenue generating ministries and parastatals; the Registrar and Bursar of all state government owned tertiary institutions in the State, among others.