… Says harmonisation should start with DOAS, AEPB, VIO, others
Urges adoption of AMAC revenue taskforce
…Reveals taskforce achieved a lot in arresting illegal revenue collectors
…Laments technical partners failed to adhere to agreements
… Revenue harmonization in the interest of FCT residents- FCT IRS Chairman
… Framework should be obeyed by all parties- Aduda
…Ensure taxation is with human face- Onah of Abaji
The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon. Christopher Zakka Maikalangu, has said he has no problem with the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT IRS)’s proposed harmonisation of revenue in the FCT, but that implemention is the major issue.
Speaking at a panel discussion, during a townhall meeting on harmonization of revenue on Monday in Abuja, Maikalangu lamented that the FCT IRS did not feature in the panel, but instead left after the acting executive secretary had presented his speech.
He said: “I initially didn’t want to talk, but as the Chairman of AMAC and landlord of many agencies, I have to say what is on my mind and what many stakeholders may be thinking. In fact, I align with the position of the Royal Highness, the Onah of Abaji, that FCT IRS should start the revenue harmonisation with DOAS, AEPC, VIO, Water Board and others.
“I sincerely wonder why FCT IRS is not here on this panel. There should be a stakeholders meeting where we will ask questions and get answers. It should not be a rushed thing. What is worth doing is worth doing well. Also, I don’t want to be misunderstood or misquoted as being against revenue harmonisation. I support revenue harmonisation, but things should be done the right way.
“Many have been alleging that I was bought over by FCTA to support the harmonisation of revenue issue, but that is not true. I didn’t collect a dime from anybody to support the idea. However, I repeat that FCTA should do the thing with regards to the implementation of the idea.”
He added: “There are burning issues over tax collection and control in the FCT, including needless clashes over defined and legitimate rights between the FCT Internal Revenue Service and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, which more often than not, has created bad blood between AMAC and FCTA.
“As we are all aware, government works better with the payment of taxes by citizens. However, here at AMAC, we have been battling the issue of payment of taxes by business owners and residents. Though the Council has every right to hire consultants to collect revenues on our behalf, we are also worried that most of the revenue agents/ technical partners are not consistent and faithful to agreements reached.
“Therefore, after a careful study tour of selected local councils in Lagos and Rivers, including drawbacks, we made consultations with revenue experts and stakeholders and decided to follow the overriding path of upholding a more friendly approach of a harmonised approach to economic recovery.
“However, we are not unmindful of the fact that no arm of government is allowed by law to assign another arm of government to do its constitutional duties. I wish to highlight that what we maintain that the new arrangement involves our staff, revenue monitoring team with a view to avoiding duplications and loggerheads and the fact that it is in the superior interest of the masses to accept the harmonization revenue proposal.
“It is projected to bring about a billion Naira to AMAC account on a monthly basis, against the epileptic and most times, the non-remittance of revenues by the contractors as agreed.
“There are so many revenue diversions going on in the system and we need revenue to deliver the democratic dividends we have in mind for the good people of AMAC. So after due consultations with revenue experts and stakeholders, we as a council may decide to follow the path of other revenue benefiting states of the federation to harmonize our revenue streams.
“There should not be any cash payment to anyone who claims to be representing AMAC. Our taskforce have been doing well in apprehending illegal revenue collectors and will continue to aid the FCT FIRS in apprehending illegal revenue collectors and invaders. Above all, we need your support for this administration to succeed.
“May I also propose that the AMAC taskforce on revenue monitoring and collection be collapsed into the FCT-IRS to ensure more transparency, accountability and trust, so that the taskforce can continue aiding the FCT-IRS in apprehending illegal revenue collectors and invaders.”
Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Chairman FCT IRS, Haruna Abdullahi, pleaded for the cooperation of the six area councils and stakeholders, saying the harmonization is for the interest of all FCT residents.
On his part, the immediate past Senator representing the FCT, Senator Philip Aduda, urged all parties involved in the revenue harmonization, especially area council chairmen, to adhere to the framework.
In his goodwill message, the Onah of Abaji, HRH. Yunusa Adamu, who was represented by Saraji Gabas, Asamu Shuaibu Kamai, urged the FCT IRS to ensure that taxation of FCT residents has human face.
“It is no longer news that many businesses are being overtaxed. Instead of residents having the willingness to pay tax, they are demoralized because of multiple taxes.
It could be recalled that revenue collection has been a major issue between FCTA and AMAC, often leading to litigations between the two government entities.