By Chineme Okafor and Nnenna Akuma
Abuja — Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of most states in Nigeria rose by 20 per cent to eventually settle at N820.7 billion in 2016, despite the significant contraction in the economy, the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) disclosed tuesday in Abuja.
The Director General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Bayo Okauru, who made a presentation at the launch of the Nigerian Tax Research Network (NTRN), the rise in states' IGR was occasioned by some reforms targeted at tax systems, minimising incidents of double taxation, remittance and collection systems, as well as automation of tax regimes in the states.
Okauru explained that contrary to reports that states in the country were mostly on negative growth trajectories as a result of low oil income and sharp drop in federation transfers, 23 states in the country had recorded positive growths within the period.
He listed the states to include Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Zamfara, where according to him IGR grew by over 50 per cent.
"Reform efforts have been designed to rationalise government expenditure and improve domestic revenue mobilisation in order to achieve fiscal sustainability. I must announce that at the sub-national level, we are already seeing good results.
"Although, states recorded significant contractions in federation transfers, domestic revenues grew by 20 per cent from N687.1 billion in 2015, to N820.7 billion in 2016 - this is compared to a three per cent contraction recorded previously," said Okauru.
He further stated: "23 states recorded positive growths, including Akwa Ibom (57per cent), Bauchi (61 per cent), Kano (127 per cent), Kwara (140 per cent), Ogun (111 per cent), and Zamfara (74 per cent) where IGR grew by over 50 per cent."
The NGF, he noted had resolved to undertake active reforms in IGR processes, as well as implement work plans to help states address their fiscal issues through a measure he called Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP).
"We recently instituted two programmes to support state governments in strengthening their revenue systems - the IGR Dashboard, which tracks tax and revenue reform processes across states, and a HelpDesk that provides demand-based technical assistance to state governments, including their boards of internal revenue.
"On demand-side, we are also implementing a work plan to help states address fiscal issues through FSP. Our work will contribute to the government's reform process by determining the extent to which current reforms are leading to fiscal sustainability. This will facilitate synergy between the federal and state governments around an agreed pool of interventions," he added.
The NTRN is expected to help deepen issues of tax research and administration in Nigeria, in collaboration with the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD).