The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service has entered into partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the training of its staff in tax administration to ensure efficient revenue generation.
It is doing this through the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) of the IMF to facilitate the assessment of the performance of tax administration in the state.
Okon Okon, executive chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service who made this known while opening a 10-day zoom enhanced training with experts drawn from US and other parts of the world said the training would add value to the “institutional capacity building efforts and translate to effective service delivery as well as rapid growth in the state’s Internal Revenue Generation.”
According to him, “The significance of this training is to build capacity, our own internal capacity in the system, to be able to deliver more. To benchmark towards international best practices. This in an IMF programme. What they doing for us, they are also doing for other countries of the world. We are trying to ensure that we have a convergence and ensure that the tax administration that would meet the international standard.”
He said there was need to broaden the horizons and explore innovative ideas in tax policy and administration in Nigeria and in Akwa Ibom adding that the challenge of tax administration is a “herculean task ridden with enormous challenges not just on the part of the tax administrators but on the part of the taxable citizens.”
According to him, the situation makes tax payment and tax collection difficult explaining that in implementing, monitoring and executing tax policies in the state, the agency is conscious of the critical role it plays in the economy and therefore would at all times ‘readily grab any available opportunity to ‘constantly update our knowledge base, technical skills and shared experiences by interfacing with other tax administrators nation wide.’
In an interview later, Okon lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for granting tax relief to Small and Medium Scale Enterprise saying that the review of charges and rates announced last year was normal and routine that was not intended to bring more tax burden to the tax payers.
“What the government has done , the Governor magnanimously reviewed and granted relief to tax payers in the state. And the relief will span throughout the end of this year. We have not done anything that should bring more tax burden on tax payers except what had been done towards the end of last year or the beginning of this year,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Maimbo Nyanka, a senior economist with the IMF said the training would streamline processes using the TADAT framework to provide an objective assessment of the health of key components of the state’s system of tax administration.