The Elerin of Erin-ile, and Chairman of the Oyun Traditional Council, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulganiyu Ajibola Ibrahim Olusokun II on June 8 2016 hosted the management team of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service(KW-IRS). The team which was led by the KW-IRS Executive Chairman, Dr Muritala Awodun was well received at the palace at Erin-ile. The purpose of the meeting was to solicit the support and guidance of the community leaders and brainstorm on the modalities of collection which will be suitable to the peculiarities of the environment.

Also in attendance were the Kabiesi, Onira of Ira Alh Oba Abdulwahab Oyewale Oyetoro, Onipe of Ipe Land, Alhaji Oba Muftau Adebayo Lawal Titiloye III, Olojoku of Ojoku Land, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Oba Abdulrazaq Adegboyega Afolabi Iyiolasimi III, the Elemana of Ilemana, Alhaji Oba Yusuf Omakanye Oyekanmi I, the Onigbona of Igbona Land, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Oba Abubakre Soladoye Oyelowo Ilufemiloye I, Local Government (LG) Chairman, Engineer Alao Jimoh Adebayo, LG Vice Chairman, Honourable Mrs Dorcas Okoye, LG Treasurer, Pastor David Omomeji, other members of the Local Government and Babaloja, Oyun LG, Baba Gabriel Ogunremi among others.

The LG Chairman, Engr. Adebayo in his welcome address described the establishment of KW-IRS as symbolic given the national economic downturn which he said called for an urgent reform and possibly overhaul of the current system of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) at every level of Government. He apprised that the Government must find means to fulfil its responsibilities to the governed. In light of the above, he highlighted some areas of revenue generation for consideration such as markets, motor parks, citizenship/certificate of origin, etc. He stated that intervention in the highlighted areas will be appreciated as it will go a long way to improve the council’s IGR. He requested that the Government assist to construct rural roads to help farmers easily transport goods to the market.

Engr. Adebayo posited that the relevance of royal fathers in revenue generation cannot be over-emphasised. He advised KW-IRS to ensure royal fathers are carried along in all activities since they know the land and the people, and without their support, very little can be achieved. He appealed to the royal fathers on behalf of KW-IRS for their cooperation and support through sensitisation and enlightenment of the people. He stated that everyone has a role to play and tax payment is a responsibility that must be fulfilled by citizens all over the world.

Dr Awodun thanked the Elerin, other Obas and all those present. He gave a background on the establishment of KW-IRS explaining that the government of Kwara State realised there was need for a reform of IGR collection, and enacted the Kwara State Revenue Administration Law No. 6 on 22 June 2015 which established KW-IRS and empowered it as the sole agency recognised by law to collect revenue on behalf of the State Government.

Dr Awodun informed the Obas that the Service realised even before the commencement of operations that the task at hand will be more successful with the support of the royal fathers. He said as most have heard from our fathers, tax payment and collection has always been in existence. He added that tax is used globally for state expenditure and development then, and now.

The Executive Chairman, KW-IRS stated that for a long time, Nigerians enjoyed the income from crude oil and as such neglected tax and other IGR since the funds from crude oil seemed to be sufficient. He said we all should be glad Kwara State had the foresight to realise where things were headed and creating the KW-IRS before the situation became as bad as it is today. He reminded those present that Lagos State had taken this route in 2002 and the results have been evident in the growth of their IGR from N800million to N23billion monthly.

Dr Awodun gave an analysis of the Federal Allocation which was received by Kwara State overtime. He said Kwara used to receive up to N3billion which has reduced considerably from N2billion, to N1.7billion, N1.2billion and is now at N700million only. Kwara State requires about 1.7billion to 2billion to fulfil its salary responsibilities. It is as such obvious that Kwara can no longer solely rely upon the Federal Allocation. He mentioned that the IGR target of Kwara for 2016 is N34billion. He apprised that with the revenue made so far by KW-IRS, with our highest being N2.1billion which was generated in April 2016, Kwara will be self-sufficient if the IGR drive is done right.

Dr Awodun mentioned that some of the revenue heads that have been identified to be important in Oyun includes the Personal Income Tax (PIT) of Markets and Artisans. He informed the royal father that KW-IRS has met with artisan associations and have arrived at an agreed rate. He added that for the markets, the Service has decided to work with Babaloja and Iyaloja of the various markets, since they know the market people best. In the same vein, the royal fathers know their people best. This he said has made it significant to get their blessing, support and guidance.

Elerin of Erinle expressed happiness over the visit and prayed for Oyun LG and KW-IRS. He advised KW-IRS to strengthen its sensitisation and enlightenment to the people as most people are not abreast with the new reforms and are still unclear about the activities of the Service. He used the opportunity to seek clarifications on specific areas as this would enable the royal fathers have adequate information with which they will be equipped to explain to their people. He also sought for frequent communication between KW-IRS and the traditional council.

The Executive Chairman, KW-IRS addressed specific concerns as necessary, thanking the Elerin for seeking clarifications. He said this is particularly important since one of the aims is to speak with one voice. He thanked the Elerin of Erinle and all the Obas and assured them that their advice will be taken inculcated into our practices. He also promised that there will be subsequent meetings with the people of Oyun LGA.

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