Local govts in Akwa Ibom look inwards for improved IGR
Local government councils in Akwa Ibom State have begun moves to boost their Internally Generally Revenue, weeks after the inauguration.
The move followed the conduct of local government elections last October into the 31 councils and the subsequent inauguration of the elected officials.
Criticisms have often trailed local government councils over lack of initiative in the provision of basic amenities, a development which is usually blamed on lack of funds
With a tenure of three years beginning last December, many of the councils have stepped up efforts to boost revenue while many of the councils have dissolved existing revenue committees with a view to setting up new ones.
According to checks, apart from the statutory allocation from the federal government, local government councils rely on the weekly markets in their areas as sources of revenue.
For instance, Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom State depends on Itam market where it generates revenue from the sale of tickets for traders and markets stalls, while Uyo relies on the Akpan Andem market as a major source of revenue.
There are similar markets in Oron, Eket, Ini, Mkpat Enen and Ikot Abasi local government areas.
In addition to the markets, there are also other revenue-generating outlets like the mechanic village in Uyo where spare parts traders for cars, trucks and buses are located.
It is estimated that the spare parts market in Uyo generates businesses worth millions of naira annually.
In recognition of the importance of the spare parts market as a revenue-generating point, the chairman of Uyo local government area recently visited the area and had a meeting with members of Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Akwa Ibom State Chapter.
The Mechanic Village, as it is called, is one of the areas where revenue can be generated for development.
However, due to the alleged neglect of the area located along Abak road in the heart of the city, the spare parts traders were reported to have evaded the revenue payments to the Uyo Local Government Council.
Chairman of the council took a step to interface with business owners within the area “to ascertain how they are faring, their challenges and how those challenges could be addressed them to make life meaningful for the artisans in the area”.
The chairman of NATA in Akwa Ibom State, C. Ime Okon Udo, listed some of their challenges within the community as lack of access road and insecurity which he said had led to non-remittance of revenue to the local government.
In response, the LG chairman promised the artisans that the council under his administration would put their requests into consideration and those challenges would be addressed within the shortest possible time beginning with the grading of access roads to make them motorable.
He reminded the businessmen and women to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 protocol and be safety-conscious to stay alive for their businesses.