The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said his government will enact new laws and strengthen existing laws to improve revenue collection, and address tax evasion and other corrupt practices in the system.
Obaseki disclosed this while addressing participants during a stakeholders’ engagement of the Edo State Transition Committee with artisan groups at the New Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City.
He said his government is working to eliminate all forms of cash payment for taxes across the State as it will minimise corrupt practices in the system.
Obaseki noted: “As a government, we are looking at all the processes of tax collection; we will ensure no more cash tax payment, as it will enable us to check corruption in the system.
“We are simplifying the tax system in the State to encourage more people to key into the system. You can commit crime in America and go free but not with tax evasion.”
“If we can do so more with the little we get as tax, imagine what we can do when more people pay their taxes,” he noted.
The governor continued: “We are trying to maintain a sense of accountability and openness to our people.
“The problems that we are facing didn’t just start today and can’t be solved in just one day but both the Government and the people must do things right to solve the problems facing us.
“We are going to work together with you to ensure that we have constant interaction. Our problem is not money, but how effectively we can use your money. When you contribute or pay your taxes, you want to see that we use it to make you proud; we can’t do anything without you.
“We are not like some states that have huge IGR or very high allocations but the little that we get, we can show you the plan or what we have achieved with the taxes.”
On his part, Edo State Head of Service, Barr. Anthony Okungbowa, noted, “This is an interactive session with you because you are very important to this administration.
Feel free to open up to the Government to enable us know where we need to improve and make life better for the people of the State.”
Also, a trader in edible foods, Mr. John Ojo, said, “I want to call on the Government to set up a body with credible persons, which should be made known to traders and other artisan groups where complains can be lodged as this move will help sanitize the system for more efficiency and effectiveness.”