Anambra loses 50% of its revenue to leaks and touts

About 50 per cent of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) accruable to the Anambra State Government is lost to leakages and activities of revenue thieves, Christian Madubuko, executive director, Operations, at the Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) disclosed to News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Wednesday during a chat.

Mr Madubuko, who is the leader of AIRS revenue mobilisation team, said the state was making just about ₦2 billion monthly out of the ₦4 billion potential profile.He said the government had discovered the diversion of state taxes through the fraudulent configuration of a retail banking agent which had been blacklisted.

He said investigation was on-going to identify the beneficiaries of the fraud with the aim of bringing them to book, adding that the Police, State Security Service and other intelligence agencies had swung into action.

Mr Madubuko said that no fewer than 20 illegal revenue collectors had been arrested and handed over to the police, and that they had been making useful confessions that would lead to the apprehension of those they were working for.

He said those involved in the “sabotage” were “enemies of government” who would be prosecuted at the State Revenue Court.

“The leakage we were having with the POS operators was a deliberate design by some internal people we entered into agreement with, to consciously configure the system for diversion of revenue.

“The amount is humongous but generally, the government is supposed to be getting ₦4 billion from IGR monthly but we have been struggling to make about ₦2 billion or less.“Everybody is now a revenue collector, the communities are involved, even the markets. The sad part is that they collect this money and put it into their private pockets.

“The digitised system of revenue collection, designed by Governor Chukwuma Soludo, is still effective. We want to eliminate physical payment of taxes, these revenue thieves must go out of business, we will not allow them to frustrate this government,” he said.

Mr Madubuko said the AIRS was working to maximise IGR collection without inflicting additional pain on the masses.

He expressed worry over the complaints of intimidation and extortion by some people under the guise of enforcing traffic laws.

“The complaints are everywhere, we are aware that some people are going about molesting the people they are supposed to be protecting.“We will embark on training of these people and those who collect money from people and put them into their pockets will be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.