By Mfon Sampson
The National Bureau of Statistics- NBS report on “Internal Generated Revenue” at State level and FCT for Fourth Quarter and full year 2020 indicates a slide shortfall of N20bn to N1.3tn, from N1.33tn, recorded at the end of 2019.
According to the report, Lagos State still maintains the lead with the highest figure of N418.99, followed by Rivers State with N117.19bn respectively.
In that report by NBS, the following represents the performance of each State and the FCT in hierarchical order, within the year under review(2020). FCT N92.05bn, Delta N59.73bn, Kaduna N50.77bn, Ogun N50.75bn, Oyo N38.04bn, Kano N31 82bn, Akwa Ibom N30.70bn, Anambra N28.01bn and Edo N27.18bn.
Others are: Ondo N24.85bn, Enugu N23.65bn, Osun N19.69bn, Kwara N19.66bn, Plateau N19.12bn, Zamfara 18.50bn, Kogi N17.36bn, Imo N17.08bn, Cross River 16.18bn, Abia 14.38bn, Kebbi N13.78bn and Ebonyi N13. 5bn. Bauchi had N12.5bn, Nasarawa N12.47bn, Bayelsa N12.18bn, Sokoto N11.80bn, Borno N11.58bn, Niger N11.52bn, Katsina N11. 40bn, Benue N10.26bn, Ekiti 8.72bn, Jigawa N8.67bn, Gombe N8.54bn, Adamawa N8.33bn, Taraba N8.11bn and Yobe N7.78bn respectively.
Following this spread, it could be observed that Yobe State came the least in IGR performance of 2020, with N7.78bn, a sliding drop from N8.44bn of 2019. According to the NBS report, it’s arguably glaring that, the drop in IGR in so many States of the federation in 2020 could be attributed to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which put the global economy in dire straits, as a result of the lockdown imposed by all the countries of the world to fight the monstrous disease, which was considered a Force Majeure.
The Endsars Protest in Nigeria, shortly after the lockdown, experienced simultaneously across all major cities in the country was also a major economic disruption, which has culminated in the poor IGR outcome of some States in 2020.
Interestingly, however, Akwa Ibom State has shown remarkable resilience in its performance on IGR. This could be considered a profound validation of the doggedness, ingenuity and circumspect of the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service- AKIRS, in spite of all the upheavals within the year in focus.
According to the NBS report, the State has maintained number 7th position, excluding FCT, in the 2020 ranking, with N30.70bn turnover, the same position she was in 2019, with N32.29bn as turnover. This reflects an insignificant downward slide of about 5%.
Akwa Ibom State, who a few years ago, carried the insignia of a “Civil Service State”, until the emergence of Governor Udom Emmanuel and his industrialisation policy, prowess and implementation, on the 2020 NBS report, towers above known commercially endowed States like Anambra and Abia. The former trail behind our State at number 8, with N28.81bn, while the latter is at a far distant 20th position, with the sum of N14.38bn.
Worthy of note equally is the fact that Akwa Ibom State, during the year under review, swapped a position. She came right behind an age-old commercial city like Kano State, which the opposite was the case in the 2019 review. Kano can favourably compete with Lagos, in commercial endeavors, yet, by the stroke of professional efforts by the current management of AKIRS, our State almost outrun her in performance. Quite Phenomenal!
Some other reason that could be adduced to this thin shortfall in the State, to a very extent, is the fact that occasioned by the effect of novel COVID-19 on all sectors of the economy, the State Governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, magnanimously approved a Tax Relief and Waivers, in response to the impact of COVID-19, on a wide segment of businesses and Taxpayers in the State, to cushion the effects of the economic lockdown. The following considerations were made in this regard: 1- Extention of the deadline for filing of the individual income tax return for 2019, from March 31 to September 30, 2020, 2- Waiver of penalty charged for late payment/remittances of taxes for 2020 3- Waiver of interest charged on payment/remittances of taxes for 2020 tax year
4- Waiver of Business Premises Levy for Small and Medium Enterprises(SME) with a maximum annual turnover of 5 million Naira for 2020 tax year ending December 31, 2020, 5- Waiver of Economic Development Levy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) with Maximum Annual Turnover of 5 Million Naira for the tax year ending December 31, 2020, 6- Suspension of Specific Road Levies (viz daily ticketing, stickers, and emblems and haulage fees) for 2020 tax year 7- Granting of 25% discount on Personal Income Tax for traders in all the markets (informal sector) for 2020 tax year
Sadly, of all these torrent of tax relief and waivers by the State government in a year, ravaged by COVID-19, only items number 6 and 7 were widely known to the public. A cursory look at the State’s Budget Proposal for 2021 shows that IGR is projected to fund the budget to the tune of N36bn, but Information at our disposal reveals that AKIRS is already setting an internal target of N40bn.
The Governor should be given a medal for putting up such a strong team of management at this time of economic uncertainty in AKIRS, led by Mr. Okon Okon, a management and financial expert. Hopes and expectations are already high to see a greater and people-oriented performance in 2021. We expect the Governor to keep supporting AKIRS for optimum performance and records breaking outcome.