By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has inaugurated a 13-Man FCT Join Revenue Committee (JRC), following the recently concluded stakeholders Retreat in Akure, Ondo State.
While inaugurating the committee under the chairmanship of the acting Chairman of FCT Internal Revenue Service, Mr Haruna Abdullahi, Bello said it was pertinent to modernise the tax system in FCT, with stakeholders engagement in the right manner.
The minister said that modernisation of the FCT tax system would enhance the overall economic development of the the people and residents of the territory.
Bello said the committee comes with a clear broad mandate and terms of reference that would guide its actions, and ensure it is successful attaining its objectives, as it’s been trusted with people with the critical responsibility to organise tax administration, address various revenue concerns and resolve disputes in the system.
He added that through collaborative effort, the committee would devise strategies to enhance revenue generation through efficient collection process and improved compliance.
” It will also serve as a mechanism a dispute resolution as well as monitor and evaluate progress and ensure active stakeholders engagement.”
According to him, there has to be very close collaboration with Area Councils chairmen, because the six area councils are the centre of unity, and there is no doubt that FCT is going to expand astronomically.
“What we have seen within the last three years is just the beginning. It is a reality that Nigeria is a large country, and Abuja represents a very important investment hub for people, and you can see the way and manner population is increasing daily.
“Over the years opportunities to raise the revenue profile had been missed, but I’m glad that over the last few years a lot dialogue has taken place between the FCTA and Area Council Chairmen, using the FCT-IRS. And I think this collaboration is absolutely essential, and if it is done properly, the FCT will be better for it.”
He advised the chairmen of the Area Councils that it is better for them to have 10 per cent of a very large prosperous affluent cake than to have 100 per cent of something that was close to nothing.
On his part, the FCT ALGON Chairman, Danladi Chiya, who is also the Chairman of Kwali Area Council, noted that the effort to streamline revenue collection process and modernise the tax system, shows that ease of doing business has come to stay in the FCT.
” As the Chairmen of the six Area Councils, we will put our heads to make sure that FCT-IRS succeeds by the grace of God”.
He however, thanked the outgoing FCT Minister for his good work done to ensure inclusive and rapid development of the Territory.
Also, Haruna Abdullahi, Chairman of the committee, who disclosed that the whole concept has been ongoing for a very long time, noted that inauguration of the committee was one step, which will formalise what they are about to do in the FCT.
Abdullahi noted that the harmonisation will continue with one step at a time, as the secretariat has been inaugurated, and it will drive the whole process.
He explained that even though the FCT-IRS is supposed to drive the process, which is what it has neen doing, but with the support of the Area Councils and other stakeholders its role continues.
According to him, the committee is provided for in the FCT-IRS Act, and there is a term of reference for it, and the whole idea is to harmonise and make sure that all revenues are collected seamlessly, in line with ease of doing business.
” So we are quite excited that this two and half years harmonisation process has cumulated to the committee inauguration. This, will mean additional revenue to FCTA, which certainly will mean everything to us in terms of public utilities and services to the people.”
On his part, the Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and Public-Private Partnership, Lukman Agboola Dabiri, said the committee’s inauguration marks a significant milestone in the economic development of the FCT, given her unique position in
Nigeria as the seat of power and a symbol of the nation’s unity.
“It is part of the resolutions of the recent stakeholders retreat which brought together key stakeholders from the FCT Administration, the six Area
Councils, the FCT Internal Revenue Service and other critical participants from the organized private sector and civil society organisations.
“Its establishment could not have come at a better time
than now. I am confident that through the collective efforts
of all stakeholders, we will create a vibrant and financially resilient FCT that will serve as a model for
other states in the country to emulate”, he stated.”