The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) who is the sole agency responsible for the mobilization of revenue for Kwara State in its usual manner of being transparent has released information regarding collections of revenue from January to May 2019 as N14.374b with breakdown as follows:
Also released on social media pages of KW-IRS is additional information with regards to the collections for the month of May which shows an obvious special inflow. It was stated therein that in the month of May 2019, Kwara State was one of the beneficiaries of the payment of outstanding Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) liabilities by the Federal Government (FG) with Kwara’s due being N5.4b. This represents outstanding PAYE owed by several (59) Federal Ministries, Departments, & Agencies (FMDAs) in Kwara State over various years for each FMDA ranging between 2005 and 2016.
In addition to KW-IRS pages, this revenue has been in the public domain since the payment was made given that Kwara is one of the first 20 States who received it on 28th May, 2019. More so, it was part of the handing over speech of the Former Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji (Dr) AbdulFatah Ahmed to the current Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak on 29th May, 2019. Thus, the information is available on various platforms for anyone who genuinely seeks to be informed.
It should be noted that this inflow from the FG is IGR given that it is outstanding Personal Income Tax (PIT) owed to the State. Revenues are mobilised from current as well as outstanding liabilities from individuals and organisations. It is also noteworthy that Kwara State like many others had been working on this recovery for years (specifically, since 2016); first with the individual FMDAs, and then collectively, under the umbrella of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) since last year. In fact, this Recovery is contained in the 2019 approved revenue budget of the State. Thus, it is quite obvious to anyone who is truly an authority in this regard where PAYE belongs and consequently, the question of whether the N5.4b is IGR or not does not arise.
It is also noteworthy that the facilitation of the payment from the FG took conscious, consistent and concerted efforts by KW-IRS and various agencies. The various State Internal Revenue Services (SIRSs) collectively worked through the JTB with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF). Both agencies went to the various states to review evidences and verify the claims between November and December 2018. Kwara State received the verification team in December 2018 and presented its claims based on 59 FMDAs that had been audited with established liabilities by KW-IRS, and the reconciled figures were arrived at. The figures for all states were collated by the team and eventually approved for payment by the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) in December 2018 and the payment provided for in the 2019 FG budget.
The matter, however had to be escalated to the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) recently, to intervene with the FMF since the FG had debited the States with the VAT liabilities due to the FIRS leaving unattended to what is due to the States as approved. This intervention by the NGF led to the payment of the principal liabilities N5,494,932,206.25 (less negotiated/agreed deductions) with waiver of the penalties and interests (from the total liability of N7,198,361,001.90) to put the matters to rest.
The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) has since commended the FG and the FMF for the bold step and leadership by example, while enjoining all other individuals and organizations that have outstanding liabilities to Kwara State to settle them promptly to avoid enforcement according to the laws.
The Service advises all to only trust information from authorised sources and encourages everyone to seek information and clarification where necessary rather than displaying ignorance through the promotion of false or inciting information. KW-IRS assures the residents of Kwara of its commitment to transparency and accountability with regards to its responsibilities.
Muritala Awodun, PhD