Rivers State Internal Revenue (IGR), has hit a landmark N9,591,046,990.43 in February, the highest so far in the history of the state, even as Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi Amaechi said in London that the state has started the repayment of the N120 billion loan it accessed from banks to speed up project implementation.
Governor Amaechi has expressed delight over the N9.5 billion generated in February, saying the state can exceed the amount with the current reforms in the sector.
As at January this year, the IGR was N6.2 billion, a far improvement from N2.5 billion made before the Amaechi administration assumed office in October, 2007.
Shortly after assuming office, the IGR slowly rose to an average of N5-6billion monthly and was boosted by the tax reforms of the new administration.
Excited with the new revenue statistics, Governor Amaechi through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr David Iyofor told pressmen yesterday that the state government is bent to surpass the landmark.
His words, “He is very happy with this figure of N9.5 billion for the month of February. Governor Amaechi is happy with what our partners in the tax project waa Skye Bank is doing with the state government in the tax project, and has urged them to continue on this path.
“He believes the state can do other than this figure of N9.5 billion, and has clearly told them to improve on it.”
The governor further asserted that the new IGR is a clear testimony of reforms in revenue generation in the state, adding that “with a robust tax reform policy, the state can do very well in internally generated revenue.”
He, therefore, urged Rivers people and corporate bodes to continue to support the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue and the Skye Bank tax partners by promptly paying their taxes for sustainable growth and development of the state.
With a good and buoyant tax system, he believed that the government would be able to execute more developmental projects.
On the N120 billion loan repayment, Governor Amaechi said, “We pay the loan monthly; last month, we paid N6 billion to GTB out of the money we are owing them; this month we are thinking of paying N7 billion.”
“The government can do this because our Internally Generated Revenue Operation (IGRO) has improved significantly, so we are paying from it.
He explained that the loan was obtained as a “bridging finance” while the state was awaiting the monthly allocation from the Federal Government.
“If we continue to wait for the Federal Government to pay us our monthly allocation, we won’t be able to implement all our projects.
“So what we did was to take the loan and move ahead in our development drive and pay back from our IGRO and monthly allocation from the Federal government,” he explained.
The governor, who also spoke on increased investment in non oil sectors of agriculture and health, said the confidence of investors had been boosted following improvement and stability in the security situation in the state.
According to him, the development drive in the state had generated employment opportunities for the people and especially the youth graduating from our school system.
Amaechi said that the state had overcome its security challenges and had been de-listed from the non-travel destinations by the United States.
The governor said the hosting of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission in Port Harcourt last year was a sign of the progress made in stabilising the security situation.
“Investors are now allowed to come to the state; so you can see that security has really improved,” Amaechi said.
He added that a British firm was handling the on-going construction of a syringe factory in the state.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue says it generated about N9.59 billion in the month of February, 2013, representing the highest monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Executive Chairman of the state Board of Internal Revenue, Onene Osila Obele-Oshoko, who disclosed this at the weekend in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the increase was the outcome of new strategies adopted by the board.