Adeleke and the path to Osun’s economic renaissance by Sarafa Ibrahim

Adeleke and the path to Osun’s economic renaissance

By Sarafa Ibrahim

It is easy to wreck than to build. This is why people often gets reluctant in sharing optimism of getting whatever is wrecked fixed and turned around for the better. And you cannot really blame them because the job to build can be challenging, and even costly. But more importantly, it requires a positive mindset and discipline to build, which appears scarce in Nigeria’s political landscape.

On Thursday, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun state did something outstanding that will open a path of economic renaissance for the state. It was a masterstroke and those who had thought nothing good can come Osun under Governor Adeleke cannot but admit their error of judgements. A post by an X user, Opeoluwa with the handle @OpeBee, captured the feelings of cynics of Governor Adeleke administration. “Not a fan of Adeleke but this is a masterstroke. I have argued that the first hallmark of any serious government is fiscal reform,” Opeoluwa post reads on popular microbloging platform, X.

Remember that Osun was buoyed by financial uncertainties when Governor Adeleke assumed office. Mountain of debt and the need to service them stifled economic prospect of the state to the point that questions on how Governor Adeleke will navigate the troubled water rages. It was a big challenge, but Governor Adeleke was not prepared to be defeated and pursue remedy.

If you have been following happenings in Osun since Governor Adeleke assumed office, you will know of sound policies to block leakages and upscaling the economy of the state without burdening the people. The new policy on tax, which eliminates multiple taxation that has plagued businesses over time, is a bold move to open the state for improved economic activities.

Osun is in dire financial strait, confronted with questions of survival. By using about N1.8bn of gross revenue from the central revenue poll every month to service debts, Osun is caught up in the wrong financial decisions of the past and needed to shore up revenue to make up for the revenue shortfall. The only way to do that is to ramp up revenue generated internally.

The prevailing economic realities of citizens however make it a bit insensitive to jerk up tax at the moment in a bid to increase revenue at home. This is where the new policy, which harmonized tax and levies into a single bill the multiple taxes and levies collected by government in Osun state, come handy. What this will do is enormous, as it will not only improve revenue for the state, but relieve businesses of the burden of multiple taxation that has stifled them over time.

Over the past few years, for example, businesses have endured a system that made them pay multiple taxes and levies, which in some cases, pushed them out of operation. But that will no longer be the case under the new policy as businesses or individuals will have tax and levies due to it harmonized into a single bill to be paid annually. The payment can either be made in full or in tranches, and upon full payment, a harmonized bill certificate will be issued to the business or individual.

In short, the era of extortion and manipulation of businesses and individuals is gone with this new policy introduced by Governor Adeleke administration. It will remove in its entirety the challenges faced by businesses as a result of multiple taxation and spurs economic activities in the state.

I know that some will wonder how the new policy will translate to more money for the state unlike under the multiple taxation regime. Well, this is not something to even debate because the prospect of the new policy is too obvious not to see. With multiple taxation, businesses and individuals struggle to meet up and so, usually look for ways to avoid paying to the government coffer.

Many businesses and individuals cleverly cheat the system, either by dodging officials or bribing them, causing the state government huge losses in revenue. This will no longer be the case with the new policy as any payment due to the government are harmonized and easy for businesses and individuals to pay up.

Beyond this, the new policy makes payment of taxes and levies to the government a whole lot easier. Unlike what was obtainable in the past, businesses and individuals do not necessarily have to go to revenue office to pay what is due to them. In fact, the process of payment to the government has been made seamless that you can stay in your home or office and make payments. At the tap of a button, you can make payments via the state’s revenue agency, OIRS, on: https://pay.irs.os.gov.ng, or via POS, commercial banks and even transfer right on your phone or computer.

Another fascinating thing about the new policy is the deployment of automation system to improve service delivery on some government assets and utilities. Obtaining certificate of occupancy or local government identification letter can be processed through portal and you may no longer have to travel distance to initiate the process as it was done in the past. The same thing with payment for lease and rent of government properties, affidavit request, among others.

Obviously, the new policy holds a lot of promises for Osun people. And the good thing is, while it boasts of improved revenue generation for the state, it will not in any way burden the people. In fact, it will promote ease of doing businesses in Osun state, and in turn, appeal to investors, which will likely translates to inflow of investments in the state. Indeed, it was a masterstroke and a sure path to Osun’s economic renaissance.

  • Sarafa Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor on Print Media. He writes from Osogbo, Osun State.

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