Niger State Government generated N5.5bn internal revenue in 2017

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Niger State map

The Niger State Government generated N5.5 billion internal revenue in 2017, Alhaji Jibrin Habibu, chairman of its board of internal revenue, said on Wednesday in Minna.

Habibu, who made the disclosure while defending the board’s 2018 budget at the House of Assembly, said that the figure was far below its target of N9.5 billion.

“We could not meet last year’s target. For this year, our target is N11.6 billion. We are hopeful that the situation will be different because we have already gathered N696 million in January alone,”  he said.

Habibu said that government was looking into various areas to gather revenue to meet rising demands.

“We are exploring areas hitherto overlooked; revenue rates have been peanuts and the cost of collecting them is even more than what is collected; we cannot continue like that.

“In the past, banks paid N50,000 per year for business premises. Now, we collect N1 million. The good thing is that they are not contesting the new rate because they know what is obtainable elsewhere.

“For companies engaged in agricultural activities, we used to collect an average of between N20 million and N25 million per year. The new rate is N155 million.

“Over the past years, we did not care about the strength and value of those areas. Now we do,”  he said.

He decried the poor level of tax compliance in the state, saying that stern measures were being taken to change that.

Commenting, Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Alhaji Abdullahi Mamagi, wondered how the board would realize its N11.6 billion target with only N696 million in January.

“You must target an average of N900 million monthly to be able to meet your annual target,”  he said.

Mamagi, however, pledged the legislators’ support toward hitting the target at the end of the year.

He cautioned the finance ministry against extra-budgetary expenditure and unrealistic budget estimates.

Amaka E. Nliam