By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
The Federal Capital Territory, Territory, FCT, has recorded a landmark success in it’s revenue consolidation drive, as the FCT Minister and Chairmen of the six Area Councils join hands to a harmonize and accelerate the strategic streamlining process of revenue collection within a visible time frame.
To realize this feat, the leaderships of the area councils and FCT Administration on Thursday formed and inaugurated a 13-Man FCT Join Revenue Committee (JRC), after a recent stakeholders Retreat in Akure, Ondo State.
During the official inauguration of the committee in Abuja under the chairmanship of Mr. Haruna Abdullahi, the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello said it crucial to modernise the tax system in FCT, with stakeholders engagement in the right manner and way it will enhance overall economic development of the the FCT people and residents.
According to the minister , the committee comes with a clear mandate and terms of reference that will guide its actions, and objectives, adding that it’s been trusted with people with the critical responsibility to organise tax administration, address various revenue concerns and resolve disputes in the system.
He noted that with a collaborative effort, the committee will devise strategies to enhance revenue generation through efficient collection process and improved compliance. And also serve as a mechanism of dispute resolution, monitoring, evaluation progress and ensure active stakeholders engagement.
The minister further emphasized on the need for adequate collaboration within Area Councils chairmen, adding that the six area councils makeup the epicentre of the nation’s unity.
“What we have seen within the last three years is just the beginning. It is a reality that Nigeria is a large country, and Abuja represents a very important investment hub for people, and you can see the way and manner population is increasing daily.”
“Over the years opportunities to raise the revenue profile had been missed, but I’m glad that over the last few years a lot dialogue has taken place between the FCTA and Area Council Chairmen, using the FCT-IRS. And I think this collaboration is absolutely essential, and if it is done properly, the FCT will be better for it.”
I want to advise the chairmen of the Area Councils that it is better that you 10% of a very large prosperous affluent cake than to have 100 % of something that is close to nothing”, the Minister said.
FCT ALGON Chairman, Danladi Chiya, who is also the Chairman of Kwali Area Council, noted that the effort to streamline revenue collection process and modernise the tax system, shows that ease of doing business has come to stay in the FCT.
He said, “As the Chairmen of the six Area Councils, we will put our heads to make sure that FCT-IRS succeeds by the grace of God”, as he thanked the outgoing FCT Minister for his good work done to ensure inclusive and rapid development of the Territory.
Chairman of the committee, Haruna Abdullahi, disclosed that the whole concept has been ongoing for a very long time, and noted that the inauguration of the committee is one step, which will formalise what they are about to do in the FCT.
Abdullahi, who is also the Acting Executive Chairman, FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS, noted that the harmonisation will continue with one step at a time, even with the support support of the Area Councils and other stakeholders its role continues to drive the whole process.
According to him, the committee is provided for in the FCT-IRS Act, and there is a term of reference for it, and the whole idea is to harmonise and make sure that all revenues are collected seamlessly, in line with ease of doing business.
Abdullahi said, “So we are quite excited that this two and half years harmonisation process has cumulated to the committee inauguration. This, will mean additional revenue to FCTA, which certainly will mean everything to us in terms of public utilities and services to the people.”
Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and Public-Private Partnership, Hon. Lukman Agboola Dabiri, said the committee’s inauguration marks a significant milestone in the economic development of the FCT, given her unique position in Nigeria as the seat of power and a symbol of the nation’s unity.
“It is part of the resolutions of the recent stakeholders retreat which brought together key /stakeholders from the FCT Administration, the six Area Councils, the FCT Internal Revenue Service and other critical participants from the organized private sector and civil society organisations.”
“Its establishment could not have come at a better time than now. I am confident that through the collective efforts of all stakeholders, we will create a vibrant and financially resilient FCT that will serve as a model for
other states in the country to emulate”, Dabiri said.