Abia State has met her target of hitting the N1bn mark in her internally generated revenue drive for the month of January 2020 thereby significantly raising her revenue profile while also paying the new minimum wage agreed by the Federal Government and Labour to its civil servants without any rancour or hesitation.
This much was stated by the State’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr Aham Uko, during a radio program monitored in Umuahia the Abia State capital on Wednesday.
Dr Uko stated that Abia State pays the highest wage per worker in the entire southeast region and praised the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, for approving a wage structure that pays the lowest wage earner in Abia above the approved N30,000 minimum wage.
According to him, Dr Ikpeazu has shown enormous commitment to the welfare of the workers and parastatals in the state by approving commencement of payment of the new minimum wage to civil servants in the state and regular payment of subventions to affected parastatals.
“We have been able to achieve these targets, and to sustain them, we are doing everything possible to ensure that the new improved workers’ wages in the state are paid promptly by pursuing an aggressive revenue drive strategy that ensures government is not stranded and is never found wanting in the discharge of its responsibilities to its citizens.
“For us as a State, what we are doing is to ensure we bring in a lot more people into the tax net; it is not by having multiple taxation. No! We are also ensuring that those that withdraw PAYE (from their workers), remit the taxes to the State’s Board of Internal Revenue. We are going to be very aggressive in the collection of taxes because it is part of the citizens’ responsibilities to the state to pay their taxes just as government is obligated to use the taxes so collected to provide infrastructure and other amenities for the people”, he said.
To plug leakages, Dr Aham Uko stated that the state government is introducing automation in the collection of flying revenues and generally reform the mode of collection. “Our internally generated revenue has since gone past the usual N650m – N700m monthly threshold. We did N1bn in January, and our target is to ensure that by June/July, we must do N1.5bn and take it up to N2bn by December or early next year.
“I am very much aware that we need this revenue to repair our facilities and to build our infrastructure. We are going to do a lot more because the opportunities are there for us to do a lot more. If we increase the consciousness of the people, and with the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, taking very bold steps across board to ensure that we join the league of the big states in terms of internally generated revenue, Abia will remain highly competitive and viable”, he concluded.