By: Nnalue Peters
The mismanagement of revenue collections by state and non-state actors in Nigeria has been a recurring problem for years. It’s no news that the consequences of such mismanagement have led to the deprivation of the people of their entitlements and a host of other challenges. However, the new government of Soludo in Anambra State has taken a commendable step towards fixing the issues.
Upon taking office, Governor Soludo recognized the need for a complete overhaul of the revenue collection system in the state, given the alarming state of affairs. The state had been subjected to all forms of a wreck, including overpayments, double taxation, revenue leakages, and all manner of financial misconducts that come with mismanagement of revenue collection. In a bid to remedy the situation, Soludo’s government employed the services of Oasis Management Company, a reputable firm, to sanitize the system.
It’s worth noting that the government’s intervention is informed by its manifesto and campaign promises, which prioritize the needs of the masses. As times are hard, the government is cutting some of the revenues, taking into consideration the economic hardship faced by the people. This move is laudable as it shows the government’s commitment to the welfare of the masses.
However, while the government has made considerable progress in fixing the system, more work still needs to be done. Temple XYZ LTD, which was part of the revenue collection system before Soludo’s government came into power, is still in the picture, wreaking havoc on the state’s finances. This company, which promised to build vehicle test centres in all 21 local governments of the state, has only built two centres in Awka and Nkpor. The company is the only one in the state’s history that collects a whopping 52% of all road-worthiness certificate revenues. Such an arrangement leaves room for exploitation and financial misconduct, which the government needs to address urgently.
It’s essential that the government periodically reviews the Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) of its consultants to ensure that all parties fulfil their obligations, making sure such engagements are favourable to the masses, who are the primary reason for the government’s existence.
Temple XYZ LTD (aka Temple Resources Limited), which is responsible for collecting over 50% of the roadworthiness certificate revenues in Anambra State has already collected over six hundred million Naira (NGN600,000,000.00). Yet, it has not fulfilled any of its obligations to the state. As a result, the majority of the masses who pay revenues for roadworthiness certificates and vehicle tests end up not being tested at any time, despite the company taking 52% of everyone’s payment regardless of whether the test was conducted or not. The company further exploits the masses by charging an additional fee of 3000 Naira or more for tests conducted at the only two test centres built in Awka and Nkpor, amounting to double taxation and being unacceptable.
It is concerning that the company continues these exploitative practices with reckless abandon, seemingly with the backing of some individuals in authority who may receive a commission from the funds collected from the masses. The government must take prompt action to address these issues and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
It’s also worth mentioning that the state’s Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) need to be called to order as they have also resorted to extorting the masses. They collect between 500 – 2500 Naira to add their signature to any certificate given to the masses. This is unacceptable, and the funds collected are not accounted for as they insist on collecting cash. Soludo’s government needs to investigate this issue as it is tantamount to double taxation. It’s unfair to charge the masses such high rates for roadworthiness certificates and still expect them to give cash to a VIO to sign a document they have already paid for.
In conclusion, the government needs to do more to fix the revenue collection system in the State. It’s commendable that the government has taken steps to sanitize the system, but it’s also necessary to ensure that all parties fulfil their obligations, and the masses’ interests are protected. The company that collects over 50% of the roadworthiness certificate revenues in the state should be held accountable for its failure to fulfil its obligations, and the VIOs who extort the masses should be brought to book. Soludo’s government needs to take prompt actions to address these issues to ensure that the people of Anambra State are not exploited and their interests are protected.