World Bank (SLOGOR) Partners IRS to Enhance Voluntary Tax Compliance

“…It is expected that for the desired level of voluntary compliance to be achieved, tax payers should be involved in participatory communication”

In furtherance of its core vision of being a revenue agency with an optimal tax system that ensures voluntary compliance and makes Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) the catalyst for the state’s socio-economic development, Cross River Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) has taken a giant step towards improving voluntary compliance through a strategic partnership with the World Bank through it State and Local Government Reforms (SLOGOR) Project. the emphasis of the World Bank intervention programme is to assist the CRIRS create an enabling environment hat would enhance voluntary tax compliance. the Cross River IRS, understood the relationship between Internal Revenue generation and the capacity of government to provide infrastructural development or other transformational initiatives as currently being undertaken by Prof. (Sen) Ben Ayade, the Executive Governor, which would ultimately engender the State’s economic growth. the Federal Government of Nigeria has received a grant from the International Development Agency (IDA) – acting as an administrator of a trust fund from the
European Union and managed by the World Bank, for the implementation of the State and Local Government Reforms (SLOGOR) Project in six Nigerian states of Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano,
Osun, and Yobe.

The overall developmental objective of the SLOGOR Project, is to improve transparency, accountability and quality service delivery of public financial management in Nigeria. the Cross River Internal Revenue Service being one of the beneficiaries of the grant, has initiated the following remedial programs to
optimize the deployment of the World Bank Intervention Fund;

• Sensitization and enlightenment of taxpayers for voluntary tax compliance

• Study tour of CRIRS staff to other states’ IRS

• Review and strengthen CRIRS’ organizational structure

• Engagement of consultants to review CRS Revenue Laws

• Assist IRS design and implement a performance measurement and evaluation system

• Retreat/workshop events to assist IRS and revenue MDAs in the state internalize the Cross River State Revenue Administration Law (Amendment) 2015, as a policy instrument for revenue administration in Cross River State.

• Procurement, customization and installation of an electronic taxpayer database management system
(EDMS). Other areas of focus include, increased IGR, improvement of staff welfare and capacity development, increased efficiency and transparency in automation of IRS services and strengthening of internal and external stakeholders’ engagements. Speaking at a Press Conference organized by the SLOGOR’s media consultant, Mr Patrick Ugbe, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Hit F.M. in
conjunction with CRIRS on the 23rd January, 2019, as part of activities to kick start a six-month media campaign, the Executive Chairman of IRS, Mr Akpanke Ogar, said the campaign was aimed at
developing and delivering an efficient media advocacy program, targeted at various stakeholders across the state towards voluntary tax compliance. According to Mr Ogar, it is the policy of the CRIRS to pursue an engagement process with the general public that would secure voluntary tax compliance in revenue
collections.

this also involves, town hall meetings, press releases, radio talk show, mounting of billboards, among others. these are primarily aimed at enhancing tax payer’s education and enlightenment on the activities of the CRIRS thereby, showcasing the importance of taxation as a viable means of raising funds for
sustainable development. the IRS Chairman expressed the resolve of the service to improve revenue generation as well as put necessary machineries in place for tax payers to conveniently pay their taxes through the new e-payment platform from the comfort of their homes. Also, the establishment of 24-
hour help-desk will ease information flow between the service and members of the public, blockage of revenue leakages, review of the Revenue Administration Law, enumeration of tax payers for a current and reliable data base of all tax payers in the state, amongst others.

As the Executive Chairman rightly observed, the policy of voluntary tax compliance enjoys the full support of all stakeholders, including the state government and the World Bank. the next strategy however, is to explore avenues of deepening partnership with the press to achieve full engagement of members of the public and tax payers in particular, on the subject of voluntary tax compliance and
widening of the state’s tax net. And since it is the policy of CRIRS to pursue an engagement process with the general public, it is expected that for the desired level of voluntary compliance to be achieved, tax payers should be involved in participatory communication where they are properly informed that revenue collected from them by government is a means of citizens’ participation in governance and also a demonstration of good citizenship.  is again could be achieved through other communication strategies like promotions, events sponsorship, advertisement, brand culture, billboards, improved media relations, amongst others. All of these could serve as a long-term platform for the enforcement of voluntary tax compliance, considering the huge support from the World Bank through SLOGO

 

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