Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government yesterday said despite the security challenges being faced in the state, the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) had skyrocketed to a bearable level, when compared with how much the state was generating in the past.
Also, the state government revealed that it had perfected its financial status in conformity with world financial reporting system standard in order to boost the state’s financial status amongst the comity of other states.
Fielding question from journalists in Bauchi, the Chairman of the state Board of Internal Revenue, Alhaji Mu’azu Usman, said the state internal revenue had been increasing yearly due to the favourable economic policies formulated by the state government.
He enumerated the new policies to include reform in the tax laws and administration, automation of tax system, logistics, capacity building and motivation of tax administrators, saying they have gone along way in boosting the state internal revenue with satisfiable percentage.
“Since the implementation of these policies, our internal revenue in the state has continued to rise and by 2013, we are optimistic that it will go up with high percentage because we are always working on how to revitalise our economy in the state,” he said.
Usman, who explained that the internal revenues of the state come mainly from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as the Ministry of Land and Housing, Ministry of Justice, the state Water Board, judiciary, Yankari Games Reserve, amongst others, added that the state government had diversified its sources in order to generate more incomes to the state that can be used for developmental projects.
He said apart from that the economic activity of the people had also developed as a result of the numerous human empowerment programmes the present administration introduced in the state, which concomitantly increased the number of tax payers.
This is just as he stated that the Board has embarked on tax enlightenment programme to encourage people to be paying their taxes as at when due.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Liman Bello, while fielding questions on the state government’s financial status, “In fact, particularly the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, is doing things the right way. We have to go by the normal World standard, the world is moving and we have to move with it otherwise we will be left behind.”
Bello, who was speaking when the Centre of for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), paid an advocacy visit to the ministry yesterday, said the state government was among the first states in the federation that enacted the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws in conformity with the directive of the Federal Government.
“As much as possible the Bauchi State Government try to go by the rules, the Due Process Office has been up and doing and things are done according to laws,” Bello told CITAD, a non-governmental organisation that ensures transparency and accountability in the management of public finance.
He recalled that Bauchi introduction of e-payment which had at initial stage characterised by technical problems but which, he argued, the civil servants have for the past few months been witnessing as the most effective and efficient system.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance to work with partners that are interested in ensuring prudence, transparency and accountability of public finance, stressing that it’s not business as usual as far as budget formats and processes are concerned.
Bello assured that public finance management in Bauchi is being done in the best interest of government and the people of the state, expressing confidence that such initiatives of CITAD and alike will energise and sensitise government to live up to its responsibilities in public finance management.
Earlier, CITAD Senior Programme Officer, Kabiru Sa’idu Dakata, had told Usman that the visit was to brief the ministry on the activities of the Bauchi Coalition for Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM).
He said it is also make suggestions on how to improve implementation of the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws, and present copies of the coalition Community Development Charter which contain recommendations on what communities in the state would like to see in 2013 budget with respect to health sector.
Dakata explained that BACIPEM was established last year when CBOs that shared the goal of promoting transparency and accountability in public expenditure management system in the state deliberated on how to enhance public expenditure transparency and accountability in the state.
He enumerated the objectives of BACIPEM as to promote the culture of transparency and accountability in the management of public resources in the state, and support government efforts at implementing the Public procurement and Fiscal responsibility laws of the state.
Other objectives, he said, are to advocate for the implementation of the two laws, facilitate the involvement of citizens and communities in budget processes, as well as monitor the implementation of budget in the state.
Dakata expressed optimism that BACIPEM observations and suggestions would propel the state further towards a more transparent and accountable public expenditure management system that would result in value for money and make it easier for citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
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