Speaking during the commissioning of the Revenue Centre of the Board in Enugu, which also witnessed the launch of the Government Revenue Automation Project as well as release of operational vehicles, the Governor declared that “the era of manual collection of government revenues is over”.
The governor consequently directed the state’s Internal Revenue Service to ensure that it eliminates manual processes in its operations, stressing that the new order is the automation of all activities in the collection of government revenue, such as enumeration, assessment, collections and issuance of tax clearance certificates, levies, fees and other non-tax revenues by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.
He disclosed that the objective of the project “is to once and for all, plug all loopholes through which government funds seep out to private pockets, eliminate corruption and ensure that all revenues are properly accounted for in a transparent manner”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi noted that his administration at inception presented a 4-point agenda for the actualization of the socio-economic vision of the state, adding that the state government has “faithfully” implemented the agenda, “resulting in the rapid and sustainable improvements in the living standards of the good people of Enugu State”.
The governor disclosed that the consequential effect of paucity of funds to execute government ambitious development agenda because of the dwindling resources of the state’s federal allocation caused by drop in global oil prices, led his administration to embark on “a plethora of policies and measures designed to aggressively exploit all the potential sources of Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in the state”.
The governor expressed delight at the significant increase in the state’s IGR, which he said rose from N14 billion in 2016 to 18 billion in the first ten months of the year.
He applauded the professionalism of the State Internal Revenue Service under the chairmanship of Mr. Emeka Odo, saying that the feat was “quite commendable given that revenues were already dropping before we implemented these measures”.
“Today, we are launching the first phase of the automation programme which is the issuance of the Enugu State Social Benefit Number (ESBN) to all adult residents, corporate institutions, government agencies and private sector organizations in Enugu State.
“The ESBN is a unique identification number that gives institutions and individual’s access to government services and benefit from the programmes of government”, Gov. Ugwuanyi explained.
While urging all adult residents of the state to “quickly” register freely with the board to continue to enjoy numerous services of the government, the governor expressed confidence that the measures would yield the desired results for the overall benefit of the people of the state.
Earlier in his address, the board’s chairman, Mr. Odo thanked the governor for his participation, stating that the board has delivered on her mandate and implemented far reaching reforms that have repositioned it for efficient and effective undertaking of its responsibilities for the growth and development of the state.
Mr. Odo added that the Revenue Centre, the automation project, the acquired operational vehicles, among others, were in line with the board’s vision to generate revenue for the government to fulfill its obligations to the people of the state, reassuring the governor of their resolve to sustain the solid foundation he has laid towards a sustainable growth in the state’s IGR.
The Managing Director of Byteworks Solutions Ltd (the Consulting firm handling the automation project) Mr. Edmund Ezukwu, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for “envisioning, supporting and driving the Automation project”, stating that “Enugu state government has joined the league of modern states across the world”.