The Lagos state government has said it is putting measures in place to block revenue leakages and increase collection of non-taxable generated revenue from 18 to 40 percent.
To this effect, the state’s Office of Internal Audit in collaboration with University of Calgary has organised a five-day training On Revenue Systems Audit Of Non-Tax Internally Generated Revenue to boost capacity of officials in the state.
Speaking on the training which have 25 participants in attendance, Oyeyemi Ayoola, special adviser on Internal Audit disclosed that the aim of the training is to improve the non-taxable revenue from the present around 16 to 40 percent collection through the true oversights by the Internal auditors.
“In every system there are leakages, even in the system like the United States of America, they have leakages that is why they continue to improve in compliance, in inbuilt internal control to block leakage,” he said.
“Everybody that doesn’t want to pay will look for the loopholes. So, it is those loopholes that we’ll just look into and block.
“Ultimately, the aim is to improve the non-taxable revenue collection, increasing it from the present around 16 to 40 percent collection through the true oversight by the Internal auditors,” he added.
According to her, it is not about paying more but about having more people to pay, that is expanding the tax base on the non-taxable revenue and making sure that whoever is built to pay pays appropriately into the banks.
She stated that the federal government and the states have a common objective which is to improve revenue, to have more money to provide basic infrastructure for the citizens.
Ayoola said as a state, Lagos have THEMEs plus agenda to achieve, and according to her, “for us to achieve this, we need revenue to execute the projects, hence the need to have upward review of the non-taxable internally generated revenue in the state.”
She added that the training was organised to raise champions on revenue system that would be able to audit on a daily basis on the collection from the point of enumeration, billings and payments.
The special adviser, who said the twenty four(24) auditors selected among 425 Internal Auditors are “Revenue Systems Audit Champions, added that they have been carefully selected to lead this process of Revenue Systems Audit cycle and would help in achieving the Lagos developmental goals.
Addressing the participants, Ayoola urged them to be focused and see themselves as the privileged ones.
“My advice to participants is to see themselves as privileged ones that are taking up this initiative, this program that the governor of Lagos State has graciously approved to improve revenue in Lagos state, they should unlearn, and relearn.
“They should be attentive to everything that the facilitators will dish out to them as knowledge because you know, knowledge doesn’t end anywhere. There are always new things to learn. Today we are going to learn cutting edge technologies in auditing” she added.
On his part, Abdul Kadir Ogungbo, special adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, described the training as epoch and timely.
“It is a welcome development and this is to further stress the deliberate action of Mr. Governor for bringing forth this kind of program, training the auditors deliberately to begin to assure and train for the compliance in revenue cycle management.
“The auditors will be taken through the process of revenue collection management, looking at it each level by level and ensuring that gaps within the systems are closed, if not completely eliminated.
“To ensure that the desired results of making the state generate enough revenue and to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve that, we expect this training to actually deliver these results” he said.
Kikelomo Dawodu, permanent secretary, office of Internal Audit, reiterated the need to plug every revenue leakage and ensure that every kobo gets into the state’s coffers.
“We are taking a look at the revenue process and making it more effective and basically increasing the revenue of the state.
“People should know that it is no longer business as usual, they should be ready. That’s the machinery that has been put in place to ensure that no kobo of government gets missing, and it’s in the coffers of the state’s government and it will be for a better Lagos” she enthused.