Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) on Tuesday announced that it generated N9,598,504,939.90 in the first quarter of 2021, a feat it credited to its increased adoption of technology and steady blockage of leakages within the tax administration system.
The figure is the highest ever collected by the agency without any extraordinary item at any quarter since its founding in 2016.
Addressing a news briefing in Ilorin, the state capital, KW-IRS executive chairman Shade Omoniyi also explained that the drop in revenue generation in 2020 was expected because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Kwara’s uncompromising adherence to tax break and waivers for businesses during the period, and the fact of its operations being majorly manual as at last year.
She said the hugely manual nature of its operations as of last year meant that its staff were unable to move around to collect taxes as COVID-19 hit harder.
Omoniyi said the feat was recorded without any new raise in the tax rate, even as the agency made deliberate steps to tackle multiple taxation.
Her words: “Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) since inception has operated a manual tax administration system. This means assessment and collection of relevant taxes payable to the State Government from both KW-IRS and other MDAs are on contact basis.
“Despite this, the Service has recorded steady IGR growth over the years. Upon its assumption of office in October 2019, the Service’s new management began working tirelessly to sustain this momentum.
“These efforts culminated in the IGR growth from N23billion as at 30thSeptember to N30.7billion as at the end of the year, 2019.
“The Service did not rest on its oars as various revenue and cost-cutting initiatives were immediately implemented to shore up the State IGR while itworked assiduously to automate its revenue and tax administration processes. The various revenue leakage blockages paid off when in quarter one of 2020,the Service generated N7billion.
“However, with the spread of the Corona Virusand subsequent lockdown of the State by the government towards the end of March and up until May, the State IGR plummeted to N2billion.
“Given that the state’s economy was greatly affected by the lockdown and the State’s collection system was still contact-based as at this time, it was only to be expected that no serious activities would happen in the revenue space for that period. It is also known that Kwara State was one of the States who followed the Covid19 protocols fully which is a main factor for the Q2 2020 revenue performance.
“In addition, you may recall that the State was adjudged as one of the highest in performance and proactiveness in the fight against Covid19 on all indices by various monitoring entities. Recently, there was a similar feat of the government in the administration of the Covid19 vaccination where the State topped all other States.
“Notwithstanding, with the gradual easing of the lockdown, revenue generation by the Service again shot up to N4billion in Q3 2020 and N6billion in the Q4 of 2020. Thus, it is made obvious that the low IGR figures in Q2 and Q3 and consequent dip in 2020 IGR performance are solely attributable to the Covid-19 incidence and our contact-based collection which proved quite ineffective while the lockdown lasted. These observations were enumerated in the quarterly revenue collections reports released by the Service in year 2020.
“The Service has since then not stopped working round the clock to recover lost grounds. Thus, in the first quarter of 2021, Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) recorded an Internally Generated Revenue of N9,598,504,939.90 (Nine Billion, Five Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Five Hundred and Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Nine Naira, Ninety Kobo Only), the highest so far in the history of the Service without an extraordinary item.
“Having mapped out strategies to achieving its IGR target for the current fiscal year, the first quarter collections show steady and significant growth, month-on-month as indicated below: January (2,984,312,074.60); February3,058,746,474.21; March3,555,446,391.09, totalling 9,598,504,939.90.
“This feat of KW-IRS in Q1, 2021 was a great improvement over the N6, 227,099,973.42 raked in, in the last quarter of 2020. It is a reflection of the relentless efforts of the Service in bringing seamlessness to Tax Administration through automation and introduction of online payment platforms to ease payment of all taxes.
“It is also a reflection of the Harmonized Bill recently introduced to serve the following benefits among others: calculates, consolidates and communicates all payable tax revenue and non-tax revenue as applicable to each eligible taxpayer in the State, within any assessment year; Brings all eligible businesses into the Tax net; Stops illegal negotiations between taxpayers and collectors in the Ministries or KW-IRS offices and prevents diversion of funds; Displays all taxes due for payment by a particular taxpayer to block most of the leakages and educates on double and multiple taxation by showing that a single entity or taxpayer could be charged to different revenue lines depending on nature of business.
“In addition to the Harmonized Bill, other initiatives have been introduced. This includes re-profiling of our taxpayers, making mandato y the submission of schedules along remittances; carrying out prompt enforcement on recalcitrant taxpayers, expansion of ticketing model for the informal sector etc.
“The remarkable growth in the 2021 first quarter IGR is equally an indication that the Kwara State Government continues in its efforts to ensure the economic activities of the State recovers fast from the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, in spite of the drive to increase IGR, has not introduced new taxes since the inception of the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; the required and legitimate taxes due are what are being paid by taxpayers and collected appropriately into the coffers of the State. All revenue lines of the MDAs in Kwara State are same as approved and as provided by existing relevant laws.
“KW-IRS will continue to work to ensure improvement in revenue generation; a veritable support for the Federal allocation to ensure the State Government meets its responsibilities and the desires of Kwarans.
“The Service will also continue its collaboration with all MDAs and Stakeholders in the State for effective and efficient collection of all that is legally due from taxpayers. The Service will strategically and systematically play its part by using most appropriate technology and committed workforce for the growth of revenue for the State.”