ICSAN wants states build capacities, reduce reliance on tax  

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has advised state governments to build up their human and natural resources toward engender self-reliance and more economical viability.

Mr Taiwo Owokalade, ICSAN’s 28th President, gave the advice at a news briefing on Thursday in Lagos.

He said this became pertinent following the current tax collection dispute between the Rivers state government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The Federal high court in Rivers had last month delivered a judgment restraining the FIRS from collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) and personal income tax in the state.

Meanwhile, the FIRS has appealed the ruling and urged tax payers in the state to continue to remit their VAT to the agency’s coffers pending the outcome of the matter at the supreme court.

Owokalade, stressing the need to properly address tax collection, said that the current realities must ensure that states were not shortchanged in the process.

The ICSAN President also, charged the 36 states of the federation to redefine, reconfigure and employ measures that would lead to the development of their own human and natural resources for the prosperity of their citizens.

“States must look inwards and generate economically viable activities with its human and natural resources that would make the lives of residents more meaningful and not just be reliant on VAT and all that.

“Once states start to develop their capacities, the issue of rural to urban migration would also be addressed.

“Government must not shy away from adopting new models that would address our current realities,” he said.

Owokalade, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, on the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that the move would open up the oil and gas sector, allow transparency and world global best practices.

He added that the Act which factored in rewards of host communities was a supportive step and showed the willpower and consideration of government.

Owokalade, however, charged host communities to create a structure that allows transparency of both collection and usage of funds to improve the outlook and lives of the community.

“The PIA which is a revolution needs to be commended for government’s willpower to be able to pull through it.

”It is topical and supportive to recognize that where a resource is found, the community is factored into the sharing of the proceeds and this would become a normal stand, not just for oil but for other natural resources.

 “It, however, calls for proper governance structure, transparency and proper assessment to calculate and ensure that the funds are used to impact the communities,” he said.

Mrs Funmi Ekundayo, Vice-President of the Institute, intimated newsmen about the plans to address the opportunities and challenges of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at its 45th annual conference.

“The conference which would take place on the September 16-17, 2021 would have Chief Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment as the chairman while Prof. Akin Oyebode, a guru of international law would give the keynote address.

“It purposes to address Nigeria’s ongoing infrastructural development, emerging roles and opportunities for our members and better intra-African collaboration on infrastructural development,” she said.

Mrs Taiwo Olusesi, Registrar, ICSAN pledged the Institute’s commitment to training and upscaling the capacities of its members to enable them cope in a post Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic world.