By Raphael Ede
The Enugu state government has banned manual collection of government revenues in the state.
Speaking during the commissioning of the Revenue Centre of the board, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said the move is in line with current realities in the sector.
The occasion which witnessed the launch of the Government Revenue Automation Project is part of efforts to actualize the ongoing reform State Internal Revenue Service.
According to the governor, “the era of manual collection of government revenues is over.”
He disclosed that the objective of the project “is to once and for all, plug all loopholes through which government funds seep out to private pockets, eliminate corruption and ensure that all revenues are properly accounted for in a transparent manner”.
The governor consequently directed the state’s Internal Revenue Service to ensure that it eliminates manual processes in its operations, stressing that the new order is the automation of all activities in the collection of government revenue, such as enumeration, assessment, collections and issuance of tax clearance certificates, levies, fees and other non-tax revenues by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.
Due to the drop in federal allocation, the Governor explained forced “a plethora of policies and measures designed to aggressively exploit all the potential sources of Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in the state”.
The governor also expressed delight at the significant increase in the state’s IGR, which he said rose from N14 billion in 2016 to 18 billion in the first ten months of the year.
“Today, we are launching the first phase of the automation programme which is the issuance of the Enugu State Social Benefit Number (ESBN) to all adult residents, corporate institutions, government agencies and private sector organizations in Enugu State.
While urging all adult residents of the state to “quickly” register with the board, the governor expressed confidence that the measures would yield the desired results for the overall benefit of the people of the state.
Earlier in his address, the board’s chairman, Mr. Odo said the newly acquired operational vehicles will help the board fulfill its vision of increasing revenue generate of government.
The Managing Director of Byteworks Solutions Ltd (the Consulting firm handling the automation project) Mr. Edmund Ezukwu, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for “envisioning, supporting and driving the Automation project”, stating that “Enugu state government has joined the league of modern states across the world”.