By Stanley Onyekwere
In what seems as the biggest milestone in the long standing quest to harmonise and consolidate revenue collection in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chairmen of the Territory’s six area councils and Minister of the FCT have joined forces to help accelerate the strategic streamlining process within the shortest possible time frame.
In particular, both leaderships of the area councils and FCT Administration on Thursday formed and inaugurated a 13-Man FCT Join Revenue Committee (JRC), following a recent stakeholders Retreat in Akure, Ondo State.
Performing the official inauguration of the committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Haruna Y. Abdullahi, in Abuja, the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello said it was pertinent to modernise the tax system in FCT, with stakeholders engagement in the right manner and way it will enhance overall economic development of the FCT people and residents.
Bello said the committee comes with a clear broad mandate and terms of reference that will guide its actions, and ensure it is successful attaining its objectives, as it’s been trusted with people with the critical responsibility to organise tax administration, address various revenue concerns and resolve disputes in the system.
He added that through collaborative effort, the committee will devise strategies to enhance revenue generation through efficient collection process and improved compliance. It will also serve as a mechanism a dispute resolution as well as monitor and evaluate progress and ensure active stakeholders engagement.
According to him, there has to be very close collaboration with Area Councils chairmen, because the six area councils are the centre of unity, and there is no doubt that FCT is going to expand astronomically.
“What we have seen within the last three years is just the beginning. It is a reality that Nigeria is a large country, and Abuja represents a very important investment hub for people, and you can see the way and manner population is increasing daily.
“Over the years opportunities to raise the revenue profile had been missed, but I’m glad that over the last few years a lot dialogue has taken place between the FCTA and Area Council Chairmen, using the FCT-IRS. And I think this collaboration is absolutely essential, and if it is done properly, the FCT will be better for it.
“I want to advise the chairmen of the Area Councils that it is better that you 10% of a very large prosperous affluent cake than to have 100 % of something that is close to nothing”, the Minister stressed.
On his part, the FCT ALGON Chairman, Danladi Chiya, who is also the Chairman of Kwali Area Council, noted that the effort to streamline revenue collection process and modernise the tax system, shows that ease of doing business has come to stay in the FCT.
He said: “As the Chairmen of the six Area Councils, we will put our heads to make sure that FCT-IRS succeeds by the grace of God”.
He however, thanked the outgoing FCT Minister for his good work done to ensure inclusive and rapid development of the Territory.
Also speaking, Haruna Abdullahi, Chairman of the committee, who disclosed that the whole concept has been ongoing for a very long time, and noted that inauguration of the committee is one step, which will formalise what they are about to do in the FCT.
Abdullahi, who is also the Acting Executive Chairman, FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS, noted that the harmonisation will continue with one step at a time, as the secretariat has been inaugurated, and it will drive the whole process.
He explained that even though the FCT-IRS is supposed to drive the process, which is what it has neen doing, but with the support of the Area Councils and other stakeholders its role continues.