Cross River State deputy governor, Ivara Esu, says with the recent conclusion of local government council elections in the state and subsequent successful swearing in of elected officials, it has become timely to convene a meeting to harmonize tax and revenue administration in the state.
Esu who spoke at a one-day meeting of the CRS Joint State Revenue Committee, JOSREC, held in Calabar, the state capital, said this meeting was timely as it gives the state and local government councils an opportunity to have in-depth discussions on state and local government tax jurisdictions as stated in Part II Sections (12) and (13) of the Cross River State Revenue Administration Law No. 9 of 2011 (as Ammended).
He came clear too that only interactions at meetings like this can help this two tiers of government achieve better synergy and full understanding of the Tax Exemption policy of government and the mechanisms for achieving the state government’s vision in this regard as well as the need to ensure full understanding of the regime of tax relief incentives recently approved by the governor to assist individual tax payers and businesses in CRS to mitigate the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. A way he further added must be conclusively found to reduce conflicts and double taxation overburdening poor Cross Riverians and people resident in the state.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Cross River State Internal Revenue Service, CRIRS, Akpanke Ogar, who outlined the origin, establishment, composition and functions of JOSREC in his opening address as contained in Part X of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) 2004 (as Ammended), informed that to convene JOSREC genuine attempts were made by the eighteen outgone chairmen of councils on the 18th of February, 2016 to chart a pathway to resolving conflicting revenue heads involving local government councils and revenue generating MDAs, mapping out areas of possible collaboration between the state and local government councils to accelerate service delivery.
He further stated that in a bid to address key issues, a sub-committee was set up to review existing revenue rates and propose a harmonized revenue regime for all the LGAs in the state. The sub-committee which was made up of representatives of Heads of Local Government Administrations (HOLGAs), Directors of Finance and Supplies (DFSs) and the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) reached an agreement stating that; CRIRS shall work with the Local Government Councils to develop and implement an automated uniform billing system for council revenues, as well as work with the Local Government Councils to design, develop and implement an advocacy strategy to ensure awareness creation on revenue collectables by each local government council in the state.
The meeting which drew participants and stakeholders from across the state, later went into a closed session.
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