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Bayelsa Assembly to query leakages in IGR

The Bayelsa State House of Assembly is set to investigate alleged leakages in the state internally generated revenue (IGR) on a motion by Onyike Godbless representing Sagbama Constituency 1.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the 16 lawmakers on the floor of the House on Tuesday and the revenue-generating ministries, departments and agencies are to appear before a joint committee on Thursday.

The joint committee comprises the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation and the House Committee on Public Accounts and it has three weeks to submit its report, the Speaker, Abraham Ingobere stated.

Bayelsa State depends on monthly allocations from the Federation Account and internally generated revenue to survive and several lawmakers who spoke noted that the state needed more funds now to carry out infrastructural development projects.

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Former Speaker, Emmanuel Isenah representing Kolokuma/Opokuma 1, House Committee Chairman on Information and Orientation, Tare Porri representing Ekeremor Constituency 1 and others noted that much revenue was being lost in the state.

There was also a call to extend the payment of rates and taxes to churches and private schools while more effort should be put in to make hotels and businesses pay taxes to the state government.

Some lawmakers expressed misgiving that international oil companies operating in the state were not paying due taxes to the state resulting in ongoing litigation between the state government and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

Oboku Oforji, representing Yenagoa Constituency 1, however, cautioned against raising rates and taxes for small businesses in the state as it could spell the death of the informal sector in the state.

In the end, it was resolved to invite the revenue-generating MDAs to explain the poor state of IGR before the joint committee on Thursday when the House would also consider a request by Governor Douye Diri to confirm Aaron Tie as Director-General of the Due Process Bureau.

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