By Jude Michael
Dr David Nzekwu, former chairman of Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), has revealed that the state is indebted to the tune of N513.9b by residents of the state as taxes to the state.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Awka, Nzekwu said the figure was a total of taxes owed by more than 2.1 million potential tax payers enrolled and uploaded on its digital database.
Nzekwu, who assumed office as chairman of AIRS in March 2018, said the IGR profile of Anambra grew from N17 billion per annum in 2018 to N30.9 billion as at the end of 2021.
He said the number of tax payers in the state increased from 11,000 to 506,000 during the same period due to structural reforms which expanded the tax base.
‘One of our core beliefs is that to solve the challenges of revenue administration, we set up an architecture for Information Technology deployment to enable people to do transactions with us.
‘We set up a system that is able to capture every individual tax payer and receipt every taxation. That was what gave rise to Anambra Social Service Identity (ANSSID) number where each taxpayer has.
‘With that, we have generated a total collectable bill of N513.9 billion as at January this year against 2.1 million tax payers in the state.
‘This means that if my successor can generate this bill and distribute to individuals and they begin to make payment, the government will have a lot of money,’ he said.
Nzekwu said the AIRS had been positioned for a people based revenue collection system with the deployment of Community Revenue Officers who related with taxable members of society at the community level.
He said the endemic prevalence of illegal road and parks collection was a huge source of leakage to the government; even as he welcomed the decision of Gov. Chukwuma Soludo to abolish all such collections.
He called for strengthening of Anambra Tax Administration Law, deepening the information technology deployment and digitisation of processes as a way of ensuring that all government revenue accrued to it.
Nzekwu harped on the need for effective property tax administration in the state by dusting up the Anambra Property and Land Use Charge (APLUC) Law, 2011, and addressing the issues that led to its poor implementation, including public resistance.
The out-gone chairman said he was happy to have served the state well but regretted that his vision was to see the state generate via IGR, money that could fund the recurrent expenditure of the state.