The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called state commissioners of finance and heads of revenue collection agencies to face up to the challenges of raising their internal revenues of their states.
At a Peer Learning Event by the NGF in Abuja, Tuesday, the chairman of the Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said that the call was to alert states on the importance of looking towards a future without oil, and beyond dependence on oil.
He said that the fiscal crisis in 2015 and 2016 proved that states had not done enough to reduce their dependence on oil over the years.
According to the chairman, “it is true that domestic revenues have grown significantly over the last three years. However, our records show that the high growths have accounted for less than half of the state.
“We all know that public expenditure commitments have continued to grow in contrast to temporary windfalls from oil. This has led to rising fiscal disequilibrium.
“Today, fiscal sustainability is a rising challenge to development. We must do more to steer our governments to stability.
“We must work towards closing the wide revenue gap in order to position the country to meet the growing development needs.
“This responsibility lies in the capacity of our revenue authorities to improve tax administration capacity and governance especially in the non-oil sectors of the economy.”
The Director of the NGF Secretariat, Asishana Okauru, said the essence of the workshop was for states to share lessons and experience on measures that had helped to improve on their domestic revenue.
He said that the event was themed “Imperative of tax compliance on financing the future.”
“While we have recorded fiscal strive in 11 states with IGR growth rate of about 20 per cent, I need to state that we are also confronted with less optimum progress in number of other states.
“Through our dashboard and help desk programme, we will continue to assist in closing the reform gap across states by sharing lessons that have worked and eliciting actions from governors to support you.”
Okauru said that practical lessons would be shared by the Internal Revenue Services of Lagos and Edo states, on the steps they took to improve on tax compliance.