The Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, on Monday launched a new digital tax system that would help the state eliminate fraud and intermediaries in revenue generation.
The new system, which integrates free medical insurance scheme for all commercial vehicle drivers and riders of Keke and Okada, will see the state also maximise its revenue potential, according to the state’s Chief Executive Officer.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Otti, who was flanked by some senior members of his cabinet, including the Chief of Staff, Dr. Caleb Ajagba; the Special Adviser on Internally-Generated Revenue, Mr. Chimereze Isaac Okigbo; and Special Adviser on Policies and Interventions, Rev Father Christian Anokwuru, said that the introduction of the new digital system will not only strengthen the state’s tax collection but would also promote economic growth and entrepreneurship in the state.
“By simplifying tax compliance procedures, we have removed barriers for businesses, encourage formalisation, and stimulate investment. This initiative empowers entrepreneurs, enabling them to focus on their ventures’ growth and expansion, ultimately leading to job creation and economic prosperity for our state.
“By eliminating fraud, intermediaries, and introducing the digital platform to block leakages, we will unlock the true potential of our tax system to maximise revenue for development projects.
“The digitalised tax regime ensures that every business, large or small, contributes its fair share towards the growth of our state. With the expected increased revenue, the government can invest in infrastructure development, education, healthcare, and other essential sectors that will uplift the lives of all Ndi Abia,” Governor Otti affirmed.
He declared that the free medical insurance scheme component of the new digital tax payment system is a fulfilment of his campaign promise to create an affordable health care delivery “for our people across all sectors and segments” of the society.
The new digital tax system essentially aims at sanitising revenue generation in the transport sector and the markets. While the Permit to Operate Tickets targets those in the transport business, the Innovative Traders Tax Payment aptly targets traders in the market areas.
“Unlike in the past where revenue agents abused these daily tickets with all manner of collectibles, now, we are promoting Transparency and Ease of Compliance in our commitment to making tax compliance simpler and more accessible. The digitalised tax regime introduces enumeration and easy paying platforms which includes the use of USSD and wallet services.
“The Permit to operate Tickets for Transporters has been designed in bouquets which gives the commercial transport operators options to choose among the daily, weekly and monthly scheme. This has eliminated all forms of middle men that have been meddling on our revenue collection space. We are also optimistic that this model will eventually eliminate and reduce the risk of extortion, promote transparency, increase tax compliance, strengthen ease of doing business in Abia state and empower these businesses to operate within a legally defined framework and environment,” the Governor said.
In the same vein, the Abia Governor said the new framework for Innovative Traders Tax Payment “is the first of its kind in our state”. According to him, it was carefully designed within the ambit of the principle of convenience and fairness.
“This model gives the traders in all our major markets the benefit of prorating their annual Market levy in a Monthly, Quarterly, Bi-Annually or Annually. A thorough consideration was made to accommodate this model so as to cushion the effect of economic hardship and business cycle volatility. This was our promise to Ndi Abia during our campaign and we are keeping to that,” he explained.