Weeks after signing the newly passed Revenue Law and Property and Land Use Charge Law as well as the Plateau Geographic Information Systems Law, Governor Simon Bako Lalong has flagged off a high powered revenue drive with a target to raise the monthly revenue base of the State to about 3 to 5 billion monthly.
While flagging off the exercise at the Plateau State Internal Revenue Service Headquarters in Jos, the Governor Lalong said the revenue drive is aimed at changing the income of the State to pave way for funding more projects and programmes which are hampered currently because of lack of funds.
Lalong who paid the ground rent charges for his personal property, said he decided to lead by example in order to demonstrate to the citizens that nobody is above the law or will be left out in the process.
He said ” I am not asking the citizens to do as I SAY, but to do as I DO. I am not only the Governor, but also Chairman of the Plateau State Revenue Council as stipulated by law. Like the saying goes, leaders lead from the front. Having personally demonstrated this level of civic responsibility as the number one citizen of the State, it means that there is nobody that will default. All of us are subject to the law and those who run against the law will bear the consequences. I therefore expect all citizens particularly political leaders (both elected and appointed) to line up behind me and do same. The time to show leadership has come”.
The Governor said he will not intervene on behalf of any tax defaulter ” I plead with every citizen particularly the “big men” to comply because I will not entertain anyone begging me to intervene when the law catches up with you. This is not about me or anyone, but about the law. It is because I do not want to beg anybody or be embarrassed that I am paying my own today” he said.
He explained that he recently signed into law the Plateau State Revenue (Consolidation) Law; Plateau Property and Land Use Charge Law; Plateau Geographic Information Services Law amongst others aimed at giving legal backing to all revenue generating activities and improving the tax environment.
The Governor however warned against default as very soon, those wishing to access some services of the Plateau State Government shall be required to show evidence of payment of their taxes. This is very important because we cannot enjoy and claim rights and benefits without corresponding responsibility.
Executive Chairman of the PSIRS Dashe reaffirmed that the exercise which involves taxpayer sensitization; awareness creation; on-the-spot inspection of registration licenses and permits; is a continuous one that will be sustained. He called on all stakeholders to fulfill their civic responsibility of voluntarily paying all taxes, levies, fees and fines to grow our IGR.
According to him, after the period of sensitization and persuasion elapses, the Government shall begin enforcement and whoever fails to comply, will face the law.
After symbolic payment of his ground rent, the Governor and other top government officials paid visits to some business premises to sensitise them and seek their cooperation in the high powered revenue drive. These include First Bank, UBA and Onigbinde Stores all on the Ahmadu Bello Way Terminus. The organisations assured the Governor that they will do their best to ensure that the revenue drive succeeds.