Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that his administration has no plans to increase taxes in the State.
He gave the assurance after a closed-door meeting with stakeholders in tax administration, held at the head office of Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), in Benin City.
Obaseki’s visit to the EIRS office follows the expiration of the tenure of the Board, led by Igbinidu Inneh.
The Governor who noted that the State seeks inclusiveness and participation from citizens in revenue generation and administration.
He said the State’s revenue service needs to be re-energized before the appointment of a new Board.
He noted that there was no need to increase taxes, although the ratio of people who pay taxes compared to the taxable population in the state is very small.
“There is no need to increase taxes. What we need to do is to engender citizen participation and achieve inclusiveness. Today, the ratio of citizens who pay taxes relative to the population is very, very small and the burden is only on a few persons who pay tax.
“Everybody who has a source of income, by law, should pay money to the state. That is what we are trying to do by ensuring that everybody pays something directly to the state government’s treasury.
“We want to make sure that we re-energize the service. Right now, we are not meeting our budget in terms of revenue collection in the state. There are still lots of leaks. We believe that we can achieve better efficiency by restructuring the way revenue is collected in the state.
“The meeting today is to meet with members of staff of EIRS, work with them and redesign the revenue collection system in the state.
“Before now, it was quite centralized. What we are looking at is to have a team with almost semi-independent offices across the 18 local government areas of the state that will be responsible for all the taxes that will be collected in that area.
“The other reform that we are looking at is to collaborate with the local government, so that we can consolidate both the taxes the local government is supposed to collect and the one accrual to the state. That way, we can reduce the burden on our citizens,” he said.