The Chairman of Yenagoa Local Government Area, Chief Nimizuo Urouoaye, on Thursday bemoaned the takeover of the collection of Internally Generated Revenue in the council area by the Bayelsa State Government.
Urouoaye spoke at the Yenagoa Local Government Secretariat during the citizen’s input towards the preparation of the council’s 2021 budget and briefing on the income and expenditure profile for the months of October and November 2020.
He explained that effort to get the state government to pay the agreed percentage of accruable revenue to the local council has been unsuccessful, a development that compelled the council to seek legal redress.
According to him, it is regrettable that the state government took over the traditional revenue sources such as markets and motor parks built with local government funds and left the council with only allocation, which is barely enough to pay salaries.
“He said: We have been appealing to the state government to consider our status and give us the percentage agreed under the unified revenue system, but getting no response, we had to go to court to assert our rights and fight for our people.
“As the local government at the capital city, every other person is my tenant and you can imagine the amount of social service we have to provide and it is for that reason that some people have blackmailed us.
“But the truth is that we are fighting for our people and if some people misrepresent our intentions it is purely out of mischief and if it is the sacrifice for serving my people of Yenagoa, so be it.”
On the revenue receipt for October, the chairman said Yenagoa Local Government got a total of N226.2 million gross allocation from the federation and after sundry deductions the net receipts stood at N201.12 million.
Urouoaye said for November, the council allocation fell to N197.72 million gross income, while after statutory deductions, the council was left with a net income of N177.81 million.
He said with the dwindling oil prices, if nothing was done to improve the revenue of the council, it would be difficult for the council to meet its obligations to its workforce in the coming months.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Bayelsa State Government had in January 2017 streamlined revenue collection to curb multiple taxations.
Under the unified revenue collection system that was introduced, cash collection was outlawed.
Ayiba Duba, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, declined to comment when he was contacted.