NO DTS 0801: OTUARO CALLS FOR UNITY IN ABI COMMUNITY… TASKS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN ON ROSOLVING RULERSHIP RIFT
NO DTS 0802: DELTA RESIDENTS WANT UPSURGE OF DREDGING ACTIVITIES STOPPED…AS OPERATOR DEBUNKS CLAIMS OF DESTRUCTIVE ACTS
NO DTS 0803: OKOWA CONGRATULATES FUNKEKEME SOLOMON AT 59
NO DTS 0804: DELTA CJ DISCLAIMS PURPORTED JUDGMENT ON MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION
NO DTS 0805: PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION VISITS DELTA HOS, APPEALS FOR CONSULTANCY CADRE IMPLEMENTATION
NO DTS 0806: DELTA MINISTRY TO COMMENCE CLOSURE OF ALL UNREGISTERED ORPHANAGE HOMES
NO DTS 0807: TIDI CAUTIONS AGAINST SENSATIONAL REPORTAGE… SAYS KIDNAP INCIDENT AT OMADINO UNDER INVESTIGATION
NO DTS 0808: OKOWA HAS ADDRESSED FLOOD PROBLEM IN UVWIE- IGHRAKPATA
NO DTS 0809: NEXIM BOARD MEMBER, DAFINONE, LAUDS PRESIDENT BUHARI FOR HIS APPOINTMENT
NO DTS 0810: CHRISTIANS CHARGED TO BE SELFLESS, AS BAPTIST CHURCH ORDAINS DEACONS
NO DTS 0811: KABOWEI MONARCH WARNS AGAINST NEGLIGENCE OF CULTURE
NO DTS 0812: FEATURE: EFFECTIVE TAX ADMINISTRATION FOR DELIVERY OF DEMOCRACY DIVIDENDS
Editor: Churchill Oyowe
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NO DTS 0801: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
OTUARO CALLS FOR UNITY IN ABI COMMUNITY… TASKS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN ON ROSOLVING RULERSHIP RIFT
The people of Abbi-Achalla and Abbi-Okwelle Quarters in Ndokwa West Local Government Area have been advised to come up with a declaration for Abbi Traditional Rulership Title instead of clamouring for individual autonomous clan.
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, gave this advice while at a meeting in Asaba yesterday held to broker peace between the two quarters.
Deacon Otuaro was represented by the Special Adviser to the state governor on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, Chief Edwin Uzor.
At the meeting, the spokesperson for Abbi-Achalla and President General, Abbi Achalla, Chief Charles Achuenu, called on the state government to recognize Abbi Achalla Quarter as an autonomous clan.
On his part, Chief Orsino Chimsunum stated their opposition to the quest of Abbi-Okwelle Quarter, saying it would not only amount to the balkanization of Abbi Community but cause a spiral effect on the entire Ndokwa nation.
At the end of the meeting, a communique was issued after directing the chairman of Ndokwa West Local Government Council to call a meeting of both parties to deliberate on how to come up with a declaration for Abbi Traditional Rulership title.
According to the communique, the chairman of Ndokwa West Local Government Council should liaise with the Traditional Rulers Committee, Ndokwa West Local Government Area and all affected quarters.
The communique also held that both parties should consider the idea of having a rotational kingship title among the three existing quarters that make up Abbi Community
It was also agreed that the resolution reached at subsequent meetings at resolving the issue should be forwarded by the local government council chairman to His Excellency, the Deputy Governor within one month from yesterday, 20th April, 2021.
Highlight of the meeting was the signing of the communique issued at the end of the meeting by the representativesof Abbi-Achalla and Abbi-Okwelle.
Present at the meeting were, the member representing Ndokwa West Local Government Area at the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Charles Emetulu and the Chairman of Ndokwa West Local Government Council, Mr Godday Obi.
Others present were representatives of Abbi-Okwelle and Abbi-Achalla Quarters, members of the Traditional Rulers Committee of Ndokwa West Local Government Area and other top government functionaries.
NO DTS 0802: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
DELTA RESIDENTS WANT UPSURGE OF DREDGING ACTIVITIES STOPPED…AS OPERATOR DEBUNKS CLAIMS OF DESTRUCTIVE ACTS
By Balogun Mabamije
Resident and landlords living in Oghenevweta area in Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the Delta State have appealed to the state government to come to their aid and save their houses from imminent destruction.
Some of the residents and landlords who spoke to journalist recently said that most of their houses were at the verge of being sunk due to the dredging and the vibration caused by heavy duty payloaders constantly used at the dredging cite.
According to one of them, Mr Patrick Esevuvwie, a landlord in the area, the dredging started few months ago in the area after a meeting with the dredgers, but said it was later discovered to be too close to their buildings.
He emphasized further that upon the discovery, and the perceived effect of the dredging on their houses, concerted efforts were made to bring the dredging to a halt but to no avail, saying since then, houses in the area had been under threat.
“When they came, they told us they were carrying out dredging work here but to our surprise, we saw that the dredger was too close to our houses and as a result, most of our houses are beginning to sink while some have cracks all-over.”
“Apart from the effect on our houses, the sound and noise pollution from the heavy duity Payloader and the Tippers is devastating. The noise is so much that one cannot sleep in the afternoon. This is hazardous to our health,” he stated.
Mr Esevuvwie said apart from the destructive effect on the houses, the noise pollution was another area of great concern to them.
He revealed that youths of the area were already vexed to the point that they were ready to take the laws into their hands but the timely intervention from the elders had put the situation under control.
Esevuvwie harped that their only hope now was government intervention to avert the break down of law and order.
Mr David Evesor, a member of the executive of the area, while noting that the road was no longer motorable, said that resident and landlords had made several efforts to make the dredgers to see reason with them.
He said nothing good came out of the meeting and all they wanted now was that government should assist them to close the dredging activities in the area.
Another landlord, Rev. Fred Akporike, on his part, alleged that the attitude of the dredger showed that he had no operational license and tasked officials of the Delta State Government to carry out proper investigation on the owner of the site.
In his defense, the owner of the dredger site, who simply gave his name as Mr Andy, said that he was shocked that the landlords whom he held a meeting with before commencing the dredging business have suddenly turned against him.
Mr Andy disclosed that during the meeting, he explicitly told those present that the dredging was what he termed a local dredging which could not have any negative impact on houses in the area.
According to him, the dredging would help to open up the water channel to complement the state government efforts in abating the problem of perennial flooding that had been affecting the area.
Andy, who claimed to have approval from the appropriate quarters before embarking on the dredging business, said he also sought the advice of experts by carrying out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the area and that whatever he was doing was strictly according to the guidelines.
He maintained that he would not in his right senses take pleasure to destroy another man’s property in the name of doing business and appealed to residents and landlords to be patient with him, saying that in the nearest future they would see the good results.
The dredging operator also assured them that he would operate in the area within a specific time frame, and also attend to the road from time to time to make it motorable for all.
He went further to promise to hold a meeting with residents of the area to find a lasting solution to all the nagging problems.
Andy argued that most of the houses that had cracks were as a result of the long-term flooding and the houses being close to the swamp were likely to be affected, saying that the dredging would correct that soon.
Corroborating his argument, a landlord across the other side of the stream, Mr Kingsley Osborne, said since the dredging began, their hope of overcoming flood this year has been restored.
Mr Osborne said that the dredger was placed in a way to dredge only the waterways and make it open for water to flow to the Ughelli River, thereby reducing the volume of water during the rainy season.
NO DTS 0803: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
OKOWA CONGRATULATES FUNKEKEME SOLOMON AT 59
Governor of Delta, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated his Senior Political Adviser, Rt. Hon. Funkekeme Solomon, on his 59th birth anniversary.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, the governor lauded Solomon for his momentous service to the state as a former lawmaker, former civil commissioner and former Chairman, Governing Council of Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro.
He said that Funkekeme Solomon had the knack for diligence and commitment to his responsibilities, adding that these virtues were on display in his assignment as Director-General of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council in the state in the 2019 general elections.
According to the governor, Solomon’s outstanding leadership of the campaign council contributed immensely to the resounding victory of the party in all the elections.
“As Senior Political Adviser, Funkekeme Solomon has continued to demonstrate dedication to the responsibility of bringing his political savvy, sound knowledge of the political terrain in our state and eloquence to bear on the job.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I felicitate with an illustrious son of Delta, Rt. Hon. Funkekeme Solomon, a man we are all proud of, on the occasion of his 59th birth anniversary.
“Under his leadership as Director-General of our Campaign Council in the 2019 general elections, our party had one of the best outings, winning in 23 local government areas out of the 25 in the state.
“He has, as Senior Political Adviser, been exceptionally committed to the course of political re-engineering and mentorship of youths in politics,” he said.
The governor joined family members, friends and associates of the Ojobo-born political tactician and quintessential gentleman in celebrating a life of fine accomplishments.
He prayed that Almighty God would strengthen him and grant him good health in his journey of life and continued service to our dear state and mankind.
NO DTS 0804: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
DELTA CJ DISCLAIMS PURPORTED JUDGMENT ON MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION
By Timothy Agbaragu
Delta State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro has disclaimed a judgement purportedly delivered by the High Court of Obiaruku Judicial Division in a petition of marriage dissolution between one Jowat Spencer Amurun Vs Mrs. Embelakpo Mimi Amurun, saying that the said order did not emanate from any High Court of Delta State.
Justice Umukoro, a Life Bencher, reacted to a publication in the Vanguard newspaper of Tuesday, April 13, 2021, page 21, where a judgment was purported to have been delivered and signed by one “A. K. Odigwa (Mrs.) ” as Judge, while the Order of Decree Absolute was purported to have been drawn up and signed by one “J. O. Abeke,” as the Chief Registrar.
In the disclaimer by the chief judge, he titled the rejoindeer: “DISCLAIMER/DEMAND FOR RETRACTION OF DECREE ABSOLUTE ORDER PURPORTEDLY MADE BY HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, OBIARUKU JUDICIAL DIVISION IN MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION PETITION SUIT NO. HCO/13/2018”
“That every divorce petition carries a “D” letter in addition to the number of the suit to show that it is a Divorce matter. The purported Suit “HCO/13/2018” did not carry a “D” letter to show that it was a Divorce matter.
“That there is no judge bearing the name, ” A. K. Odigwa (Mrs)” in the Delta State Judiciary.
“Similarly, “J. O. Abeke” is completely unknown to the Delta State Judiciary. No Chief Registrar of the High Court of Justice, Delta State has ever answered that name.
“Indeed, the serving Chief Registrar of the Delta State High Court of Justice at the time the Decree Absolute was purportedly drawn up and signed was “E. Z. Dolor, Esq” and not ” J. O. Abeke ” as contained in the purported Decree Absolute,” the CJ stated.
Declaring the two court processes as fabricated and forged, existing only in the figment of the imagination of the author of the publication, the chief judge enjoined members of the public, security agencies and the diplomatic community to be vigilant always in order not to fall victim of scammers and fraudsters currently on the loose.
He disclaimed and dissociated the Delta State High Court from the purported Judgement and Decree Absolute Order.
NO DTS 0805: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION VISITS DELTA HOS, APPEALS FOR CONSULTANCY CADRE IMPLEMENTATION
Pharmacists in Delta State under the auspices of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), have appealed to the Delta State Government for the speedy implementation of the consultancy cadre for pharmacists in the state civil service.
The Chairman of the Pharmacists Association, Dr Evangeline Enaike, made the appeal when she led the body to paid a courtesy visit on the Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko.
Dr Enaike posited that with the implementation of the consultancy cadre for qualified pharmacists in the state, it would further enhance the healthcare delivery in the state and improve medicine optimization for patients.
She expressed appreciation of members of the association to the head of service for his continued support, noting the inclusion of pharmacists in the Hospital Management Board (HMB) Cash Budget Committee of the hospitals.
The chairman pleaded for the appointment of the association’s qualified members as permanent secretaries.
The Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko, while welcoming members of the association to his office, reiterated the state government’s commitment to improving the the welfare all workers in the state civil service.
He noted that in a bid to bridge the manpower deficiency of pharmaceutical personnel in government hospitals across the state, the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa recently approved the employment of 40 pharmacists.
The HoS urged pharmacists to reciprocate government gesture in promoting quality healthcare delivery in government owned hospitals.
On their request for the implementation of the consultancy cadre based on the federal government new scheme of service as referred to by the body, the HoS promised to verify their claims and do the needful.
While assuring them of his relentless support, Bayoko told the visiting pharmacists that the governor would look into their request for the appointment of their qualified members as permanent secretaries.
NO DTS 0806: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
DELTA MINISTRY TO COMMENCE CLOSURE OF ALL UNREGISTERED ORPHANAGE HOMES
The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development has begun the process of closing down unlicensed orphanages in the state.
A statement by the Director of Information, Mrs Theresa Adiabua, advised all those operating orphanages illegally to register with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Asaba or face closure and possible prosecution
The statement also warned every defaulting orphanage operator to adhere to the laws guiding the operations of orphanages in the state or have their orphanages equally shut down and the operators arrested and prosecuted according to the law.
NO DTS 0807: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
TIDI CAUTIONS AGAINST SENSATIONAL REPORTAGE… SAYS KIDNAP INCIDENT AT OMADINO UNDER INVESTIGATION
By Elohor Foghola
The Chairman of Warri South Local Government Council of Delta State, Dr Michael Tidi, has called on members of the public, particularly residents of Warri to desist from sensational stories that are capable of igniting avoidable strife.
Dr Tidi, in a statement made available to newsmen today, empathized with the Erubore family over the unfortunate death of their son, Mr. Peter Erubore, as a result of an attack yesterday.
He noted that preliminary investigations by security sources, revealed that one of those abducted by the gunmen, Mr. Tunde Ekedie, owns a timber shade under the Omadino Bridge and was not an indigene of Omadino, an Itsekiri sprawling town in Warri South.
The chairman urged law abiding people of Warri South, particularly newsmen to be wary of rumour of any disagreement between the Ijaws and Itsekiris in the area.
He assured that security personnel were on top of the situation to professionally deal with criminal elements and rescue the two persons kidnapped.
NO DTS 0808: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
OKOWA HAS ADDRESSED FLOOD PROBLEM IN UVWIE- IGHRAKPATA
By Ambrose Ologide
The National Publicity Secretary / Public Relations Officer of Uvwie General Improvement Union (UGIU), Hon. Collins Ighrakpata, has asserted Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has addressed flood problem in Uvwie Local Government Area.
Ighrakpata made the assertion while commenting on the on-going drainage projects embarked upon by Delta State Government in the area in a chat with our correspondent at his office, Uvwie Town Hall, along PTI Road, Effurun on Monday 19th April, 2021.
He noted that the said drainage projects were not mere drainage projects but projects that were executed after careful study of the flood terrain by the engineers handling the projects.
Ighrakpata noted further that the engineers were able to identified the natural water ways in Uti, Masodje, Alegbo and other streets in the PTI area before channelling the drainage system to the Effurun River.
He also gave Governor Okowa a pat on the back for other projects he (Governor Okowa) started and completed in Uvwie Local Government Area.
“We have never had it so good.; he has done well. He should be commended,” he added.
NO DTS 0809: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
NEXIM BOARD MEMBER, DAFINONE, LAUDS PRESIDENT BUHARI FOR HIS APPOINTMENT
By Onoriode Etatsemi
A newly appointed member of the board of the Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM), Chief Ede Dafinone, has appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for finding him worthy of the appointment.
Chief Dafinone, who made the commendation in Sapele, Delta State while fielding questions from newsmen on his appointment into the board, said that he would justify his inclusion in the board through effective service delivery to ensure that the objectives of the board was realised.
The NEXIM board member, who is a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, noted that despite possessing all the needed credentials to occupy such position, his appointment would not have been possible without President of Buhari’s approval.
He said that the focus of the bank was to export, encourage and support Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and manufacturers in order for them to increase production and export for companies in Nigeria.
Chief Dafinone, while explaining that oil consumption and production was dropping globally, stated that as exporter of rubber for over 20 years, he had been supporting the Association of Nigeria Export Group (MANG).
“When the last chairman of MANG died about four years ago, the members asked me if I would take over the position, so for the last four years I have been representing manufacturers in export to lobby government and express their concern and see how we can improve non oil export for the manufacturing sector and generally the Nigerian economy.
“The position of the NEXIM board is actually for the private export concern and that is why my qualifications make it appropriate for me to honour that sit on the board which I have to use this opportunity for me again to thank my president,” Dafinone stated.
Dafinone, the founder of Dafinone Foundation said, “Oil consumption and production is quickly dropping in the world. Norway announced about a week ago that in another 10 years time, the number of electric operated cars in the country will out number that of fuel and gas and other countries are doing same.”
He added further: “Very soon, within our life time, hopefully there will be a fall in the demand for Oil and any oil-based economy and by that time we will be in trouble in case of resources.”
Chief Paulinus Akpeki, APC Chieftain in Delta State; Hon. Adelabu Bodjor, Delta State APC Chairman; Mr Elvis Ayomanor, Vice Chairman APC Delta State; Hon Moses Ogodo and others at a luncheon party orgnised by Chief Dafinone for his fellow party members on his appointment, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for Dafinone’s appointment.
They collectively agreed that Mr President appointing Chief Dafinone into NEXIM Board, was the best thing ever to be done, with his verse experience as a technocrat and a chartered accountant.
Chief Akpeki averred that Dafinone’s appointment, will translate into more jobs for Deltans, saying he was in the good works of giving jobs to Deltans and Nigerians in particular through his empowerment foundation.
“He is going there to do more for his people and what he knows how to do the better. His going there is of more service delivery to Nigerians,” Akpeki concluded.
NO DTS 0810: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
CHRISTIANS CHARGED TO BE SELFLESS, AS BAPTIST CHURCH ORDAINS DEACONS
By Balogun Mabamije/ Charles Ojefia
Christians have been charged to live a selfless life that will glorify God at all times.
This charge was given recently at the Divine Life Baptist Church, Ugbeyiyi, Sapele, during the diaconate ordination of the church.
The Pastor Rev. Elisha Awhatefe, who took his text from Acts of the Apostles, 6 reminded the diaconate candidates that their duty was that of service and they must strive to be selfless, humble and committed to the work they have been called to carry out.
Rev. Awhatefe enjoined them not to be carried away by the new responsibility but to continue to express those attribute that first qualified them as deacons.
He reminded them of the challenges they may face before the people, advising that it should not deter them, but urged them to allow love lead in all they do as deacons of the Church.
The newly ordained deacons included Deacon Simon Ofotoku, Deaconess Pat Aworo, Deacon Godday Akporotu and Deacon Freedom Esaghare
Responding on behalf of the new ordained, Deacon Simon Ofotoku thanked God for making the ordination a reality as well as the privilege to serve in his church as well as appreciated the role various men of God played in the entire process.
Deacon Ofotokun who is also an Asst Director in Ministry of Information, Delta State, promised to abide by the commitment they’ve made as Deacons of Divine Life Baptist Church, Sapele.
The high Point of the service was the Ordination of the Deacons by Dr. J.O. Ihwughwu.
NO DTS 0811: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
KABOWEI MONARCH WARNS AGAINST NEGLIGENCE OF CULTURE
By Owor Duomu
The Pere of Kabowei kingdom of Delta and Bayelsa States, HRH, Peremobowei Shadrach Erebulu, Aduo lll, has warned against negligence of cultural identity of a people.
The monarch sounded the warning as part of activities to round off a three-week event to mark the Kabowei Seigbein festival.
This was said by Barrister Peremobowei Shadrach Erebulu, Aduo lll pere of Kabowei kingdom of Delta and Bayelsa States, on the Kabowei Day, to round up the three-week event to mark the Kabowei Seigbein festival.
The royal father further said the more we celebrate our identity and our culture, the more we are letting the world know that we are a people that know and identify with our origin.
He also said when the culture is being celebrated by the people, it influences the outside world to celebrate and honor them, adding that it is high time for the sons and daughters of the Izon nation to have this mentality and be proud of their root wherever they go.
The pere of Kabowei kingdom adviced scholars, political office holders, business class indigenes of ijaw origin, both in Nigeria and diaspora to use cultural festivals in their kingdoms to promote the rich cultural heritage of the people.
“When we lose our own nature, our origin, our culture, then we have lost our identity and when we lose our identity, tomorrow they will ask you in Nigeria, who are you,” the pere stated.
Speaking earlier, Rt Hon. Basil Ganagana, honorable, Delta Commissioner for Energy, who chaired the occasion, enjoined sons and daughters of Kabowei kingdom to synergize with the pere in his bid to bring a face lift to the cultural renaissance in the kingdom.
The commissioner extolled the royal father for maintaining peace and security in his kingdom by building bridges within the various ethnic, political, religious and other interest groups.
He called on the sons and daughters of Kabowei to be proud of their cultural identity and to join hands with him to take the vision forward.
In his welcome address, the chairman festival planning committee, Dr Chris Ekiyor, appreciated the royal majesty for injecting colour to the festival yearly.
Ekiyor appreciated the massive support of the people both at home and in the diaspora, to the success of the entire festival.
The occasion was attended by traditional rulers, political leaders and top government functionaries from Delta, Bayelsa, and Edo States.
NO DTS 0812: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
FEATURE: EFFECTIVE TAX ADMINISTRATION FOR DELIVERY OF DEMOCRACY DIVIDENDS
By Monday Onyeme
The concept of democracy, in contrast to military dictatorship, has been a well-touted form of government in which the people form the bedrock of its operation and success. That explains why Abraham Lincoln, the revered American statesman and lawyer, who was the 16th President of the United States of America between 1861 and 1865, defined democracy as “A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
A democratic government, especially in party politics, is usually elected on the strength of a manifesto, which is a carefully articulated list of policies and benefits which the people will enjoy if that political party is voted into power. These benefits, gains or reward are referred to in local political parlance as “dividends of democracy.”
The purpose of government, as an institution, is the advancement of the welfare and security of the people. Welfare and Security are all-embracing and encompass all issues of development, peace and national stability. The cost of providing social amenities, infrastructure and guaranteeing peace and security are essentially the exclusive responsibilities of government and they require huge capital outlay with limited opportunities for raising such funds.
History and experts have shown that taxation is the most dependable source of funding for governments the world over. Tax, defined, is simply a contribution that an income earner, individual or corporate entity is compelled by law to make to government through an authorized legal entity for developmental and regulatory purposes. Flowing from the above, taxation involves the identification and location of the taxpayer, assessing his taxable income, taxing him accordingly and enforcing the payment of same. The payment of tax is a mandatory statutory requirement at section 24(f) of the 1999 constitution as amended, which provides that:
“It shall be the duty of every citizen to declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his taxes appropriately.”
Though the above apparently refers to Personal Income Tax, there are other laws which extend the scope of taxation to corporate business entities. These include, but are not limited to, the Company Income Tax Act, Education Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, Petroleum Profits Tax Act, amongst others.
EFFECTIVE TAX ADMINISTARATION:
The prosperity of any state is, to a large extent, dependent on a vibrant tax administration system. Taxation covers a wide spectrum of human activity and to be able to get the benefits maximally, an efficient and effective tax administration system is indispensable. This is because unless taxation is properly administered, its purpose will be defeated to the failure of the government, and the disappointment of the people.
The agency saddled with tax administration therefore needs to be proactive, vigilant and visionary, fully exploiting existing revenue generation opportunities. Tax administration must focus on ALL aspects of taxation; the evaluation of each must be constantly undertaken to ensure optimal performance. There must be constant enumeration, tracing and location of taxpayers for the purpose of ensuring that they are brought into the tax net; assessment, monitoring and investigation, as well as enforcement, to guarantee best results.
Therefore, effective tax administration and dividends of democracy can be expressed as a mathematical equation, where Effective Tax Administration (ETA) is regarded as the numerator, while Dividends of Democracy (DD) can be considered as the denominator, to arrive at the Impact on Citizens (IOC): ETA+DD=IOC. This mathematical model formulated will help us understand that effective tax administration is beneficial to the citizenry, and as such provides the platform for convenience, equality, certainty (sure payment) and economic values, while ensuring that the citizens enjoy the dividends of democracy to better their lives.
The core tasks of tax administration are centered on the implementation and enforcement of tax legislation and regulations. These activities include identification and registration of tax payers, processing of tax returns and third-party information, examination of the completeness and correctness of tax returns, handling of administrative appeals and complaints, collection of taxes and provision of services and assistance to taxpayers.
An important and critical part of the tax collection function of tax administration is to enforce tax debt collection. Tax debt collection should be considered as an important and integral party of the overall tax administration process. This, in my view, is not a function that can be readily separated or outsourced, from mainstream operations.
Furthermore, it is advisable that tax administrators enshrine in a written code of professional practice, the specific rights of taxpayers in the tax administration process. These rights may be enumerated in the tax laws. This will provide clear guidance to tax payers regarding their rights and responsibilities. Ethical standards and rules of conduct for employees should also be set down in writing and employees should be trained on a strict code of conduct. There should also be a means of redress for taxpayers whose rights have been violated.
Also, as part of building public confidence in the tax authority, the tax paying public should be affirmed in its expectation that the tax authority will administer the tax laws consistently and fairly so that similarly situated tax payers are treated equally and all tax payers pay their fair share. In addition to receiving value for their money paid as tax, the public would expect that the tax authority and its employees are free at all time of corruption or undue influence.
Consequently, in designing an effective tax administration system, the following guiding principles are required:
i. Political will and commitment to the sustenance of the reforms;
ii. Simplification of the tax system to facilitate effective administration and reduce cost of compliance;
iii. Encourage voluntarily compliance;
iv. Formulate a clear, unambiguous strategy;
v. Identify the tax and accounting laws that require change;
vi. Take an integrated approach to the tax collection process;
vii. Differentiate the treatment of tax payers by size;
viii. Ensure the effective management of the reform process;
ix. Set priorities and establish a timeline for achieving them;
x. Begin fundamental reforms with pilot projects;
In its fiscal blueprints, the European Commission set out the following as what it considers to be the essential requirements for a modern or effective tax administration system:
A tax authority that is guaranteed an adequate level of autonomy;
Its obligations are clearly translated into its mission, vision and objectives;
It has its own structure and powers allowing for efficient and effective operations;
It is provided with adequate resources to implement and manage the tax system;
It is provided with a stable legal framework ensuring proper administration and enforcement of dues.
It is accountable for its operations, which are subject to control and assessment; and
Its operations are managed and assessed on the basis of the performance management system.
TAX ADMINISTRATION IN DELTA STATE:
Before the 13th of May, 2020, tax administration in Delta State was anchored on the Delta State Internal Revenue Consolidation Law, 2009. That law created a seven-man board with the executive chairman, secretary to the board, one member representing each of the three senatorial districts and two civil service directors in the service of the board.
In order to address the observed gaps and shortcomings of this law, as well as comply with international best practices, Delta State House of Assembly enacted the Delta State Internal Revenue Service Law, 2020, which was accented to by His Excellency, the Governor, and came into effect on the 13th of May, 2020.
As a marked improvement on the old law, the new law has a number of highlights, which include:
i. The establishment of an operational body to be known as the Delta State Internal Revenue Service- Sections 3(1) and 10(2);
ii. The conferment of exclusive right on the service to control, administer, impose and collect different taxes and levies, as well as other forms of revenue within the state- Sections 4(1) and 2;
iii. The establishment of a 12-man board of directors for the service, the membership of which include 4 executive directors in charge of accounts and finance, operations, ICT and legal services respectively. Section 5(1), and
iv. Specific functions for the executive directors, Section 13(2) (a-d), amongst other provisions.
Effective tax administration is that which manages the tax process in a manner that produces maximum revenue yield, and this is best guaranteed where there is constructive collaboration among the tax authority, the taxpayer, and the government who must commit themselves to the vision of prosperity through taxation. On the part of government, particularly, it is important to show to the people that tax revenues will not be frittered away, but used judiciously with undebatable physical evidence in terms of projects and services.
At the Delta State Internal Revenue Service, operations have been largely computerized in the areas of payment of taxes, application and issuance of electronic tax clearance certificates, issuance of a consolidated billing system for MDAs, online/real time revenue monitoring and reconciliation systems, issuance of electronic receipts, etc. More is still being done to ensure that our tax system meets international standards devoid of corruption, revenue leakages, and implementing modalities for the recovery of secret hidden revenue through whistle-blowing mechanism, regular tax audit and investigation, and prosecution of tax defaulters. The commitment to improving revenue generation in Delta State will eventually lead to the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
THE WAY FORWARD:
In answering this question, what is the way forward? We must recognize that tax is everybody’s business¬: a collaboration where all stakeholders play a role. The government, the tax administrator and the taxpayer must discharge their respective responsibility for maximum benefit to society.
- Refloating the economy: The more buoyant an economy, the greater the tax revenues. So, in a fractured, disrupted and dwindling economy resulting in low tax revenues, government’s capacity to provide the dividends of democracy is reduced. In appropriate cases therefore, government has a duty to take decisive steps to revamp, refloat, and stimulate the growth of the economy through bail-outs, loan schemes, waivers, tax reduction and empowerment programmes. The crash of the world’s economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a recent case in question: The world was literally shut down in addition to a crash in oil prices which dealt a devastating blow to our national economy. In the absence of revenue generating activities, taxing people is out of the question. As a consequence of this situation revenue generating activities suffered a crushing blow, and this also affected the ability of people and corporations to pay tax. In Delta State, government granted tax concessions to many businesses in some sectors, ranging from tax waivers, reductions, to comfortable installment payment arrangements. This was to help aid recovery and restore tax payment ability.
- Adequate funding: Taxation is one business government must engage in if it must deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. Taxation is a massive and audacious business enterprise requiring huge funding if the entire tax jurisdiction must be covered. This requires vehicles for staff movement and operational purposes. In the coastal areas for example, boats will be needed to as the interior creeks and o ifficult terrain where some corporate tax payers operate in cognito.
- Provision of adequate security: Cases of resistance, criminal threats and intimidation, assault, vandalization of facilities and other unwholesome activities are common experiences in tax drive. These take a huge toll on task revenues as no sane tax officer will expose his life to danger. It is therefore important that the state works out an arrangement with security agencies to offer protection to tax officials in deserving cases. With adequate security, confidence will be boosted and the exercise will be driven to its limits.
- Close Monitoring and Evaluation: It is not enough to put an administration in place. It should not just be nurtured by the provision of the enabling environment and facilities; it should be closely monitored and its performance constantly evaluated. This is because the business of taxation which the tax authority manages, supervises and superintends on behalf of the government is a partnership in which the government’s stake is the highest.
This explains why the Delta State Government has put in place several initiatives to ensure that the Delta State Internal Revenue Service is put on its toes, and I make bold to say that the result in terms of harvest of revenue is encouraging.
- Youth Empowerment Programmes: Youth empowerment programmes such as the Skills Training and Entrepreneurs Programme (STEP) and the Youth Agricultural Programme (YAGEP) which are the exclusive initiatives of the Okowa administration have transformed thousands of idle youths to entrepreneurs and with this, the ability to pay tax evolves. They are therefore now contributors to the revenue of the state. This initiative, I must say without any fear of contradiction, is worthy of emulation.
THE TAX ADMINISTRATOR:
Apparently, tax administration centers on the rule of law. With a good law in place, achieving effective tax administration become easier. Therefore, let me use this opportunity to inform the general public that any demand notice or assessment notice that is not signed by the executive chairman of the service should be ignored and forwarded to the service headquarters for necessary action. All state revenue must be collected within the ambit of the law and must be paid into the state government designated accounts and adequately accounted for at each accounting period. The era of monopolizing state government revenue by any ministry, department or agency is over and we are much determined to ensure that tax payers are not subjected to any form of tax, levies and rates outside the provision of the law. For effective tax administration to thrive and citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy or agencies, we must do away with illegal revenue collections emanating from touts and self-acclaimed revenue consultants appointed by ministries, departments and agencies. The Delta State Internal Revenue Service, by law, is the only authority vested with the responsibility in collecting any form of tax in Delta State, except this authority is expressly delegated. To this end, the state governor has approved a task force to put an end to illegal revenue agents in the state. These are geared towards effective tax administration.
In an effort to administer an effective tax system, the new revenue law provided key changes to the previous law by also giving the new service the power to determine the salaries and remuneration of workers and other performance benefits. Surely, staff of the service would be motivated to contribute their quota to ensure good service delivery that aids effective tax administration. Also, the Delta State Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Adogbejire Mrakpor (SAN) contributed immensely to the drafting and passage of the law. He gave the service a fiat to undertake all tax litigations in any court.
`Undoubtedly, this will help the service to build a strong legal team, professional and well equipped for tax and tax matters for effective tax administration. We cannot rule out litigation in our tax process where voluntary compliance is less than 30%of total tax payers in the state. However, the service is yet to migrate to a full autonomy, but the process has started with the assistance of His Excellency the Governor. Tax Administrators are entrusted with the day-to-day implementation of the relevant tax laws. Therefore, are charged with respective responsibilities as stated below.
As a Service, we have formulated measures and are currently implementing them to ensure effective tax administration in Delta State. We are mindful of the effects of taxes on every taxpayer, especially this period of COVID 19 where some of our businesses have suffered setbacks and some closed operations. These measures therefore mitigate multiplicity of taxes, ensure fairness and equity, sustainability, clarity, simplicity and provide the enabling platform for voluntary compliance. Among these measures are:
1) Call for Annual Returns from Taxpayers: Prior to this administration in 2015, tax payers in Delta State had consistently failed to submit their annual tax returns as stipulated in Section 81, PITA 2011 (as amended). We have witnessed a steady progression of taxpayers’ compliance. This submission assisted the service to quickly respond to the tax payers on shortfalls in tax remittances and provided guidance on how to maintain their books of accounts to mitigate shortfalls. This is a quick feedback mechanism that has yielded results every year before the regular tax audit exercise.
2) Whistle Blowing Mechanism: We have introduced a whistle blowing mechanism into tax administration in Delta State. This platform provides the tax authorities with privileged information on companies and individuals who have indulged in tax evasion and avoidance and aggressive tax planning to under deduct taxes or willfully refuse to deduct or deduct but fail to remit the adequate taxes for a given period to the state government. We have also made tax recoveries from government agencies, companies and individuals. These are tax revenues secretly hidden by taxpayers, and their recovery has bolstered the provision of democratic dividends through effective tax systems in the state.
3) Consolidated Ministries, Departments and Agencies Billing System (CMBS): In our effort to ensure that businesses operate without any form of hindrance from touts or unauthorized persons, the service developed a system that harmonized all taxes, levies and charges collectable by the state’s MDAs into one platform known as CMBS. This strategy is to ensure that all revenues due to the state government are completely paid into the state’s designated bank accounts. This also makes it easy for taxpayers to know what to pay at the beginning of the year and plan on how to pay without any compulsion or disruption of their business activities. Currently, the service is working hard to ensure that all levies are brought into the CMBS. We are determined to provide a good working environment for businesses in Delta State to grow which will also grow the IGR of the state.
4) Notice of Non-Compliance: The service maintains a compressive database of all tax payers in Delta State. It is expected that before the 10th day of the new month as stipulated in PAYE regulations, employers are expected to remit PAYE of employees to the state. Any tax payer that fails to comply, the service issues a notice and penalty as applicable. This notice puts the respective taxpayers on alert to know the importance of voluntary compliance. We monitor every taxpayer for total compliance and to ensure effective tax administration in the state.
5) Integrated Revenue and Administrative Suites (IRAS): Delta State Internal Revenue Service, in carrying out her responsibilities, developed a comprehensive integrated revenue and administrative suite to warehouse all systems application of the service. This application, with the support of our lead consultant, ICMA, effectively provides a one-stop shop for all tax purposes in Delta States. The system warehouses the service CMBS, Tax mates, Reemsonline, Data e-service, and Delta State IRS website (www.deltairs.com). Therefore, taxpayers can confidently unveil the system platform to explore the new age of tax administration.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the security and welfare of the people is the purpose of government. In order to have adequate funds to provide the dividends of democracy, government must find other revenue sources to complement the dwindling federal allocations. This is the reason for taxation. In real terms therefore, by making contributions through the payment of tax, the people are only helping the government to help them. That is why the government projects and service are said to be funded with “taxpayers” money.
For optimum results and benefits, the people have a duty to be tax compliant. They should pay their taxes voluntarily without subjecting the tax authorities to hide and seek games which is commonplace. The tax process has been simplified and the atmosphere for compliance made more conducive than it ever was. Machinery for the resolution of disagreements is put in place through the Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC). The people should take advantage of and make use of these, rather than resort to tax evasion and avoidance. They should be truthful.
Intelligence gathering is one other area in which the people can co-operate with tax authorities. They should give information under protective cover, uncover new companies or businesses in their environment, particularly those businesses tucked away in some remote, desolate and difficult to access places. The tax authorities should provide necessary incentives in this regard.
Government is like a family which sees to the overall well-being of its members. It does not do business in the classical sense, but survives on contributions from its members. The richer the members of the family, the more sizeable their contribution and ipso facto, the more prosperous the family.
In the contest of government, the major source of income is federal allocations which are not adequate to meet government’s developmental responsibilities. This is because our economy rests largely on a single source- oil and gas. The receipts from this source are unstable and unpredictable due to a lot of factors. Vagaries in global oil prices therefore, easily translate in vagaries in the economy.
The only alternative funding source open to government is tax, which we have defined to be a monetary contribution by every income earner towards the funding of development projects and provision of service. This complementary source is not smoothly tapped due to the range of factors or obstacles enumerated supra. This is where tax administration comes in.
The government puts in place a tax authority to collect taxes through a carefully articulated process of identification and location of the tax payer, assessment of tax payable and collection and remission of same into government’s coffers.
At the federal level, the tax authority is the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), while the states have its equivalent with necessary adjustments. In Delta State, the tax authority is the Delta State Internal Revenue Service, established by the Delta State Internal Revenue Service Law, 2020. It is this body that manages the entire spectrum of taxation. Taxation is a huge and painstaking enterprise and unless it is competently managed, the desired goals may not be met.
The benefits of taxation are huge. It puts the government not only in a position to embark on developmental projects, but also to intervene and provide necessary relief in time of distress. Only recently, the Joe Biden government in the United States approved a COVID-19 relief package of US $ 1.9 trillion. This is in addition to the earlier package under the Trump administration. Back home, the federal and state governments rolled out COVID- 19 palliatives, granted subsidies and bail-outs. These are funded through taxes.
Provision of security is another area where tax receipts are deployed. Security personnel are paid with revenue generated from taxation. You can imagine what life would look like in the absence of security.
In summary therefore, the payment of tax is ultimately in the interest of the people and only an effective tax administration can squeeze out the revenue for use by the government for the benefit of the people.
Onyeme, the Executive Chairman of Delta State Internal Revenue Service, writes from Warri