By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
The FCT Minister , Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, has called for harmonization of tax collection process by all revenue generating Secretariats, Departments and Agencies in the Federal Capital Territory to avoid multiplication of tax payable by the residents and corporate entities in the Territory.
The Minister noted that this would not only end multiple taxation, but would also encourage the establishment and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in the nation’s capital.
Bello, who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, gave the charge at the Stakeholders Resolution Retreat on Harmonization of Revenue Collection and Ease of Doing Business in FCT, held Thursday, at Akure, the Ondo State capital.
He said that the FCT Administration has over the years embarked on reform programmes that will encourage the harmonization of the tax system and promote the Ease of Doing Business to allow Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as well as other businesses to strive in a friendly environment created by the government.
The Minister disclosed that some reforms being implemented include the automated platforms for the issuance of permits, licenses, and approvals known as the FCT business portal, which allows businesses and individuals to apply for and receive all necessary permits and licenses in Real Time without physical contact with any government officials.
He revealed that the FCTA is assiduously working on streamlining and simplifying the regulations and procedure for Business Registration, Property Registration and Land Use planning.
He said that these reforms will assist to create a more transparent and efficient regulatory environment for businesses in the FCT to encourage growth and rapid development of the city.
He said, “We need the active participation and engagement of businesses, investors and civil society organizations to ensure that our reforms are effective, inclusive and perhaps, above all, sustainable.”
While declaring the event open, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said the event is significant because it will equip the participants with the knowledge and skills required for effective tax administration and would also enable them to know about the tax regime being implemented by the Ondo State Government.
The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa, commended the FCT Administration for the choice of Ondo State as the venue for the Retreat.
FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola in his welcome address disclosed that FCT Administration chose Akure, the Ondo State capital as the venue for the Retreat considering the historical nature of Akure, which is known for permanently resolving critical and strategic issues.
According to him, the ancient city is synonymous successfully in bringing to a permanent end a difficult challenge, which is traceable to the history of Asodeboyede, the grandson of Oduduwa, who finally settled at Akure after killing an elephant as prophesied by the Ifa oracle.
He also noted that the choice of Akure was to avoid distraction for participants, and challenged them to bring out a workable blueprint that will harmonize revenue collection for efficiency.
Adesola commended the Ondo State Governor for the cordial relationship that has existed between the FCT Administration and the people of Ondo State.
Meanwhile, in a paper presentation during the technical session “tagged agenda setting”, the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said that the current state of revenue collection in the FCT is a critical topic for discussion at this Retreat because it will provide the foundation for any efforts aimed at harmonizing revenue collection.
Adesola bemoaned the present method of revenue collection in the FCT which is being carried out by different revenue generating agencies within the FCTA, the six Area Councils, and FCT-IRS.