Towards technology-driven economy
By Uche Kalu
IN THE old Anambra State, Onitsha Main Market has been a major source of revenue through which government pay salaries of civil servants among other things. However, in the new state, there is not only Onitsha Market but many other modern markets, such as Nnewi Main Market, Nkpor Market, Ogidi Market, among others and revenue generation has been from these markets.
Like every other economy-driven state, Anambra has tackled its revenue challenge which has been a clog in the economic developmental wheel of many states. More so, as Anambra realised its potential to build an industrialised economy, hence successive governors did not blink on that and it has become a priority to the state government to focus on human capital development, infrastructure, security, as well as a conducive environment for foreign investors. The export oriented-policy of the government has also created an environment to promote private sector-driven economy.All these are geared towards boosting the state’s revenue beyond FAAC.
Interestingly, during the third quarter of the year, 2020, National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) Unemployment And Underemployment Report revealed that Anambra had the lowest unemployment rate among the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. This is a remarkable development going by Nigeria’s frightening unemployment rate in the past six years which raised from 6.4 per cent in 2014 to 33.3 per cent in Q4 2020.
Furthermore, Anambra was able to record foreign investment inflow of $10.02 million, which ranked the state as the 6th highest capital importation destination in Nigeria as of the end of 2020, the year that COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global economy with severe health challenges.
The state also ranked the second lowest domestic debt in the South East. NBS also disclosed that the state equally grew its internally generated revenue (IGR) by 61.3 percent within five years, covering 2016 to 2020 and the IGR rose from N17.3 billion in 2016 to N23.6 billion in 2017, but due to economic recession of 2016/2017, its IGR dropped to N19.3 billion in 2018. In 2019, the IGR added over N7 billion to hit N26.3 billion and N28 billion in 2020. Anambra also ranked among 10 top revenue generating states and the FCT in 2020.
This feat was achieved through the state’s unique Grassroots Tax Awareness Campaign (GTAC) initiative of 2018, formulated as a result of the dwindling FAAC proceeds that compelled states to pursue alternative revenue channels or expand existing ones. The initiative is driven by the Taxpayer Education and Enlightenment Team (TEET) under the Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) aimed to address the low tax compliance level in the state.
According to the Chairman/CEO of AIRS, Mr. Madiebo, Anambra residents should always use the ANSSID portal for payment of revenues to ensure the appropriate tax filings.
“The enforcement team from AIRS will be enforcing payment of taxes and levies, including Business Premises Permit, Waste Management (ASWAMA), Signage (ANSAA), and fire service compliance.
The team educates the people down to the hamlet level and ensures they fully understand tax as a civic duty. To ensure transparency and accountability, co-ordinators are appointed at all levels who issue/collect receipts for payments. The target is to reach the informal sector.
More so, in his quest to ensure efficient revenue management, the Soludo led administration has resolved to fully digitise all sources of revenue generation in the state to ensure proper limiting of IGR into government treasury.
According to the governor,“the measure is to eliminate all forms of leakages of public funds to enable the government efficiently utilise them for public good especially in this period of dwindling oil revenue.”
In his inaugural speech in March 17, 2022, he noted that his administration would make strong efforts to ensure that revenue generation sources in the state are efficiently managed to avoid leakages. He had subsequently suspended the sales of tickets at various motor parks by touts across the state and promised to come up with a more efficient electronic system of doing it and other forms of tax collection which took effect from July 1.
“I reiterated the commitment of the state to phase out the old method of revenue collection. The new method we would deploy will leverage the use of technology and ensure that a larger percentage of government revenues from this source fully come into government coffers for effective use.