The Ebonyi State Government has decried the low level of Internally Generated Revenue accruable to it from the huge solid mineral exploitations going on across the State.
Governor David Umahi raised the concern on Monday at the Government House, Abakaliki during the inauguration of the newly appointed seven-man State Internal Revenue Board.
Umahi lamented that over 100 truck loads of Lead were being carted away from the State on daily basis.
He lamented that the impact was not felt in the IGR profile of the State.
He charged the Board to work assiduously to harmonise, streamline and upgrade the IGR status of the State in order to enable the government improve further in its responsibilities to the people in line with international best practices.
He urged them not to see their appointments as political patronage but a call for partnership with Government to improve the lots of the State through proactive and friendly approach to internal revenue generation.
Umahi informed the Board that the Government would pay their salaries and running cost for only three months, after which they would be allowed 5 per cent of their total monthly generated revenue for their sustenance.
Umahi said: “Let me remind you that over 100 trucks of Lead are being carted away on daily basis and we are yet to feel their impacts on our revenue profile.
“So, your appointment is not political patronage but an opportunity to work.
“We chose you, the academic creme, to help us improve our revenue and I believe strongly that this is a partnership.
“I will give you total and unalloyed freedom to discharge your duties.”
The Chairman of the Board, Chief Mike Chukwu, in his acceptance speech pledged on behalf of the members to abide by their mandates for the best results.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after, Chukwu, a former Managing Director of the defunct Spring Bank Plc, assured they would adopt a strategy of revenue collection that would be fair and without excess burden on the poor and middle class.
He emphasised that their mandate from the Governor also included finding ways to economically empower majority of the State population, adding that only the rich can adequately pay taxes.
Chukwu further maintained that the Board would first of all engage all tax stakeholders in the State in a meeting to fashion out the most friendly approach to achieving its mandate, adding that the visible developmental strides of Umahi were already enough to make the people respond positively to their tax obligations.
Chukwu stressed: “In Ebonyi State, we should consider ourselves most privileged because we can see what our money is doing for us.
“So it will not be difficult to get the people to respond to us because tax payment is an obligation.”
In an opening remark earlier, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Cletus Ofoke, had explained that the new Board was necessitated by the review in the State Revenue law, which came into effect on September 11, 2018.