Mr Ifeatu Onejeme, Anambra State Commissioner for Finance, says that the state can only survive the current economic hardship experienced in the country through internally generated revenues (IGR).
Onejeme made the assertion during the ongoing 2022 Revised Budget defence before the state House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, on Friday, in Awka.
He said that every successful country in the world succeeded from taxation and not from sale of commodities such as Nigeria exporting crude oil.
According to him, the monthly allocation of about N4 billion to N4.2 billion from the Federal Government is not enough to cater for the needs of the state.
“By the time you take out salaries, overheads and subventions to institutions from the federal allocation, what is left is very minimal and so, Anambra can only survive through IGR.
“This is why the initiatives to drive the revised budget have been captured under the state’s Internal Revenue Service because we have adopted a strategy to consolidate revenue collection.
“The era of revenue windows in ministries, departments and agencies has come to an end. There are digital platforms that are being introduced such as registration for transport operators.
“This is all to make sure that revenues are now centrally and digitally collected to reduce leakages,” he said.
Onejeme said that Anambra had IGR potential that should be explored to develop the state.
“The Electronic Money Transfer levy captured in transactions in banks and financial institutions, you will find out that Anambra is number four in Nigeria, in terms of generation, after Lagos, Abuja and Rivers.
“If you also go to the telecommunications, and check the average revenue per user for their phone lines, you will find out that Anambra is second or third, after Lagos.
“So, it tells us that in Anambra State, there is massive IGR potential but the problem has been leakages and IGR warlords, ” he said.
On the current economic situation, the commissioner said that the country can not sustain itself at the current debt levels and the issue with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said that reports from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, showed that NNPC had not remitted any fund to the federation account this year.
According to him, it means that Nigeria is surviving without any receipts of proceeds from the sale of crude oil and this has significant implications.
“Not only has NNPC not brought money, it has as well been utilising the funds that they should have remitted for taxes and royalties to the federation account to subsidise petrol importation.
“So, there is something really going on that should alarm and keep all Nigerians awake. We have all been boxed into a corner in this country economically.
“Any state that is proactive must start digging in now to be able to survive the negative impacts of what is going on the country.
“As a state under the federation, we have to plan on how to survive and that has been driving the revised budget estimate to achieve the manifestoes of Gov. Charles Soludo as well as the Vision 2070 for the state, ” he said.
The commissioner said that the state government would start to front-load infrastructure investment for economic expansion as well as
credit rating to raise money either in the international or local market for the state
Reacting, Mr Obinna Emeneka, lawmaker representing Anambra East Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, commended the ministries for the initiative to block revenue leakages in the state.