BY Beatrice Akpala


   The evolution, concept and methods of taxation play very significant roles in the success or otherwise of every administration, whether it is at the local, State or Federal Government levels.

   Since no Government can make a headway without taxes, every helmsman endeavours to put in place a solid mechanism and very trustworthy personnel who can deliver its mandate from the financial sector.

   This was precisely why His Excellency, Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu, Governor of Cross River State, appointed the present Acting Chairman of Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Prince Edwin Okon.

   Within a few months in Office, the result of his stewardship is already showing in the State's financial circles. He resumed duty in June, 2023 and his name has already become quite synonymous with record breaking achievements.

   The Acting Chairman said that he is doing everything he could to block the loopholes through which funds are syphoned, thereby increasing the financial inflows of Government.

    While answering questions on the Current Affairs Programme, Inside Cross River, Prince Okon remarked that care must always be taken to avoid disenchantment from the people that the Government is serving. There must be a clear differentiation between what the people want and what Government really needs to do in order to carry out its overall development of the State, adding that so far, it has been one remarkable success after another.

  The IRS Chairman noted that when he came on board in June, 2023 the revenue profile of Cross River State was generally compromised to the extent that the monthly generated revenue was N1.9 Billion (One Billion, Nine Hundred Million). Consequently, he decided that some hard choices had to be carried out immediately.

According to him, that tax regime he met on ground with a revenue generation of N1.9 Billion monthly was inadequate and needed some sort of improvement.

   He therefore devised a means of shoring up State finances and the figures moved from N1.9 Billion in May to N2.97 Billion in October, using the same personnel he inherited. 

The Acting Chairman said that people are often pressured before paying their taxes but that through the newly created platforms, taxes can now be paid from the comfort of their homes. He reiterated that by the close of 2024, the revenue profile would have gone to higher figures. 

   He remarked that all the financial reforms he has embarked upon in the State are intended to shore up the State's capital base with a view to assisting the present Government to deliver on its campaign promises to the people of Cross River State and even beyond.

   The IRS Chairman said he abhorres the notion of multiple taxes which are injurious to industrial growth, adding that he is working round the clock to ensure that the ease of doing business in the State 

is guaranteed. 

   Prince Edwin Okon revealed that the issue of multiple taxation was uncovered in some Local Government Areas, where different groups are collecting various classes of taxes from the same business ventures, thereby making life uncomfortable for businesses to thrive.

  He noted further that mechanisms have been put in place whereby business owners are admonished to pay taxes  at once in the whole year to avoid any form of disturbances on the roads as they crisscross the entire length and breadth of the State transacting business.He opined that once taxes are duly controlled in an economy, prospective businesses will not only thrive but the much needed employment opportunities will be generated for the teeming youth population.

   On determining what taxes belong to the various levels of Government, the very experienced financial management expert remarked that there has to be harmony and synergy between all the tiers of Government which has greatly been achieved, adding that in Cross River State, people's expectations and businesses are not stifled as taxes are assessed based on their volume of transactions.

   He noted with delight that he has been able to shore up the State's capital base, restore confidence in the system and frontally confronted corruption in the system as well as showing enough prospects of capital growth and stability. 

He urged all landlords in Cross River State who collect huge rent on their properties but refuse to pay their rental tax while at the same time, expecting government to provide all social amenities and security for their houses to know that it will no longer be business as usual.

   He described himself as a thorough bred financial expert, who had crisscrossed many aspects of the financial industry in Nigeria, including but not limited to the packaging of financial facilities for business conglomerates such as the Dangote Refinery.

   He assured that the era of multiple taxation, refusal to pay tax and creating many tax avenues have been put behind in Cross River State.

   The Revenue Chairman, who is an alumni of the Hope Waddell Training Institute and the University of Port Harcourt, had very kind words for the feverish preparations being undertaken to usher in the famous largest street party in Africa, the Carnival Calabar and Christmas Festival.

   Tax payment is a civic responsibility and taxes form an inevitable part of the demands of Government on the people and whoever refuses to comply only does so at the expense of his or her social and economic well-being.

Published by Pst Bill Francis Bill Spokesperson to Governor Prince Otu and Ceo Billionaire Bill media Team and Blog 

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