Ahead of the swearing-in of the new administration in Delta State come May 29 and in view of the dwindling financial flow which has hit the state and country at large, the Delta state Board of Internal Revenue, DBIR has assured Deltas that it is fully ready and prepared to tackle the new challenges that are likely to emerge in it its revenue generation and mobilization efforts in the state.
This assurance was given by the Executive Chairman of the DBIR, Mr. Joel Onowakop-Thomas, in an exclusive chat with media men during the official commissioning of the Revenue House Corporate Headquarters of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue in Warri.
Onowakpo-Thomas said that, while some other state governments in the country had continued to depend on oil for its revenue, the Delta State Government, under the visionary leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had foreseen a future where the oil would no longer be there and initiated the Delta Beyond Oil initiative, to ensure the utilization of present oil revenues to provide standard and viable Infrastruture, welfare and other necessary projects that would serve as platforms for building a diversified economy beyond oil, for the state.
The DBIR boss, who was quick to point out that there was an immediate cash crunch in the economy, as a result of the dramatic and astronomical slump in oil prices, which has affected the regular allocation from the Federal Government, however noted that the foresight of Governor Uduaghan to re-position the Board of Internal Revenue in the state and provide all the necessary tools and support to enhance its status and service delivery capacity, has ensured that the DBIR, instead of grappling with teething structural problems, can now engage in its revenue generation drive with a robust and aggressive template, which it will deploy to serve the incoming administration.
Highlighting the critical areas where the overall capacity of the Board had been enhanced, the Revenue Boss listed the movement from rented offices to the building of permanent structures for the Board’s offices across the state, training and re-training programmes for staff and management, ICT compliant Revenue policies, as well as the massive public enlightenment and sensitization drive across all the media platforms to enhance tax payment compliance, as some of the pragmatic initiatives already put in place to position the Board and staff for the envisaged challenges ahead.
Onowakpo-Thomas, who equally affirmed emphatically that the Revenue agency will only collect the tax legally due to the state government through a comprehensive tax regime that will ensure that all viable businesses in the state are captured in the tax net, also quickly allayed the fears of Deltans, including corporate, international and individual businesses in the state, that the Board of internal revenue will not embark on a punitive tax regime in an effort to unduly shore up the revenue base of the state.
He noted that, while Taxation is a serious business, which must be handled properly and with the required expertise to achieve maximum results, the people will also enjoy the dividends from the revenue collected as tax, in areas of improved infrastructure, welfare and other amenities.
He then enjoined Deltans to give the Board and the incoming administration the maximum support needed to ensure a better and richer Delta in the future.