Alhaji Oseni Yakubu is the Executive Chairman, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS). In this interview, he discussed the professionalisation of the organisation and the strategies adopted to block revenue leakages, stating that the measures have increased the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from about three hundred million naira to over one billion naira monthly. Francis Adinoyi Kadiri reports.
The Internally Generated Revenue profile of Kogi State has continued to rise as a result of the professionalization of the state’s Internal Revenue Service as well as other corrective measures adopted to block revenue leakages, Chairman, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS), Alhaji Oseni Yakubu has said, adding that the ability of the Yahaya Bello administration to make the state conducive for business has also led to the growth of small and large businesses which taxes contributed to the increase in the state’s IGR.
According to Alhaji Yakubu Oseni who was a successful career banker before his appointment as Executive Chairman of Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, “when we came on board, taxation in Kogi state was in a deplorable situation,” adding that the situation was so bad that the Revenue Graph showed a flat. “There was hardly any remarkable growth, the monthly IGR fluctuated between two hundred and fifty million and three hundred million naira.”
Discussing the achievement of the Revenue Service under the Yahaya Bello administration, the Chairman said: “Although we inherited a low revenue profile of about three hundred million naira monthly, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service has already exceeded one billion naira monthly IGR,” adding that the administration is currently working to set higher aims in IGR.
When asked the secrets of the success of the Revenue Service, he explained: “There were so many intolerable anomalies such as huge revenue leakages, in some cases some sources of revenue were not tapped, and then there were other issues. So we devised two strategic plans, namely the startup plan and growing plan.
He explained that the start-up plan consists of blocking revenue leakages and recruiting professional teams that understand the challenges and intricacies of taxation.
“We inherited a Revenue Service that was starved of professionals, and so there was no drive for professionalism and excellence,” he said adding that the political will of Governour Yahaya Bello has been very instrumental to the development of the economy of the state.
Lamenting the sorry state of the KGIRS which was inherited by the Yahaya Bello administration, Alhaji Yakubu Oseni said there was hardly any drive for professionalism.
“So we had to bring professionals on board to save the situation,” he said adding that Chattered Accountants and other finance sector professionals are among the group of professionals that invigorated the KGIRS under the Yahaya Bello administration.
The Chairman said: “Excellence and professionalism in taxation are very important to us because Governour Yahaya Bello has set an example and he has demonstrated the political will needed to attain excellence in tax matters and matters in the sectors of the economy.
In pursuit of excellence, some of our accountants are ANAN-certified while other are Graduate Trainees, he added. Alhaji Yakubu explained that “chartered accountants will handle accounting very differently from the way quacks will execute same task.
He went further to explain that a major achievement that was part of the startup plan was to engage Directors from outside the KGIRS especially those who have appreciable experience in taxation matters.
“When we discovered that some persons may have been responsible for huge revenue losses, we decided not to sack anybody but we posted them to offices and departments where they will have no access to government funds,” he said.
According to the Chairman, the current team of professionals outlawed cash payments while insisting that taxes must be paid to the banks as well as ensured that there is a conducive environment to do so. “As professionals in their fields, the new team brought operational policies that have seriously changed the revenue profile of Kogi State.”
I repeat that we met a very deplorable situation when we came on board. It was so bad that cash collected from tax payers are hardly remitted to government coffers and as such it ends up in private pockets.
Oseni, a highly regarded administrator whose leadership skills has continued to transform the revenue profile of Kogi State said: “The idea we are actualizing under the dynamic leadership of the Executive Governour of Kogi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello is to build a private-sector driven economy that may be based on SMEs in the beginning.
However, the SMEs will be supported to grow into big businesses and conglomerates such that they will become sources of large scale taxes for government. According to him, the Yahaya Bello administration is systematically rolling out plans that will lead to a more buoyant economy while creating sustainable jobs in the organised private sector.