FCT Minister Tasks Stakeholders On Harmonization Of Taxes Payable In FCT

(R-L) Ondo State Gov rep. & Ondo State Commissioner of Finance, Wale Akinterinwa and the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola during the Retreat

By: Ben Ukeji

Minister of theFederal Capital Territory( FCT ), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, has challenged stakeholders and revenue-generating Secretariats, Departments, and Agencies in the FCT to harmonize tax collection to avoid the multiplication of tax payable by residents and corporate entities.

The Minister said a reformed tax administration that would harmonize tax collections would not only end multiple taxations, but will also encourage the establishment and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in the nation’s capital.

A statement from the Director, Information and Communication, FCT, Muhammad Hazat Sule, and made available to Abuja. Digest Newspaper, stated that the Minister, represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, gave the charge during a Stakeholders Resolution Retreat on Harmonization of Revenue Collection and Ease of Doing Business in FCT, held Today, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The statement quoted the Minister as saying that the FCT Administration has over the years embarked on reform programs that will encourage the harmonization of the tax system and promote the Ease of Doing Business to allow Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as well as other businesses to strive in a friendly environment created by the government.

The Minister disclosed that some of the reforms being implemented include the automated platforms for the issuance of permits, licenses, and approvals known as the FCT Business Portal, which allows businesses and individuals to apply for and receive all necessary permits and licenses in Real Time without physical contact with any government officials.

In the statement, the Minister revealed that the FCT Administration is assiduously working on streamlining and simplifying the regulations and procedures for Business Registration, Property Registration, and Land Use planning.

According to it, these reforms will assist to create a more transparent and efficient regulatory environment for businesses in the FCT to encourage the growth and rapid development of the city.

His words: “We need the active participation and engagement of businesses, investors, and civil society organizations to ensure that our reforms are effective, inclusive, and perhaps, above all sustainable.”

It stated that while declaring the event open, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said the event is historic and significant because it will equip the participants with the knowledge and skills required for effective tax administration and would also enable them to know about the tax regime being implemented by the Ondo State Government.

The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa, commended the FCT Administration for the choice of Ondo State as the venue for the Retreat.

In his welcome address at the occasion, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said that FCT Administration chose Akure, the Ondo State capital as the venue for the Retreat given the historical nature of Akure, which is known for permanently resolving critical and strategic issues.

According to him, the ancient city is synonymous with success in bringing to a permanent end the difficult challenge, which is traceable to the history of Asodeboyede, the grandson of Oduduwa, who finally settled in Akure after killing an elephant as prophesied by the Ifa oracle.

He also noted that the choice of Akure was to avoid distraction for participants, and challenged them to bring out a workable blueprint that will harmonize revenue collection for efficiency.

Adesola commended the Ondo State Governor for the cordial relationship that has existed between the FCT Administration and the people of Ondo State.
Meanwhile, in a paper presentation during the technical session “tagged agenda setting”, the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said that the current state of revenue collection in the FCT is a critical topic for discussion at this Retreat because it will provide the foundation for any efforts aimed at harmonizing revenue collection.

Adesola bemoaned the present revenue collection in the FCT which is being carried out by different revenue-generating agencies within the FCTA, the six Area Councils, and FCT-IRS.

He said each of the Agencies has its specific mandate for revenue collection; therefore, leading to a significant degree of overlap and duplication across the Agencies.

Earlier, the Acting Executive Chairman, of FCT-IRS, Haruna Abdullahi, said the retreat is a pathway towards achieving its vision to establish a world-class revenue collection system in the FCT that is transparent, accountable, and efficient.

He noted that the stakeholders have made significant progress since the previous retreats, and are now ready to take the next steps towards achieving a harmonized revenue collection system that is efficient, transparent, and fair.

Among the dignitaries at the retreat were the Chairmen of the FCT Area Councils, Mandate Secretaries, top FCTA management Staff, FCT-IRS staff, and Heads of revenue generating agencies as well as. the organized private sector.