*Monarchs gives him massive royal welcome
*Kwara revenue system will become a model for others – FIRS boss
By Ayo Fasanmi (Ilorin), Niyi Tinuoye (Offa)
Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler was the cynosure of eyes as he visited the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi Esuwoye during his official visit to the state.
Fowler’s entourage landed at the monumental palace of the Olofa around 3:45pm Tuesday. He was welcome to the ancient kingdom by a retinue of leading Yoruba monarch which included the Olomu of Omu-Aran Oba Charles Ibitoye; the Elese of Igbaja Alhaji Ahmed Babalola Awuni Arepo III; the Alofa of Ilofa Oba Samuel Dada; the Olusin of Isanlu Isin Oba Solomon Oluwagbemiga Oloyede as well as High Chiefs in Offa including the Chief Imam and many traditional Chiefs which comprises the Olofa-In-Council.
In his remarks, Mr. Babatunde Fowler expressed joy at the massive reception in his honour. He appreciated the Olofa and the other monarchs. He enjoined them to always preach to their citizens to learn to pay their taxes so that governments at all levels will be able to redouble their effort at the development of the state.
While responding, the Olofa appreciate him for his kind gesture for donating 5,000 FIRS branded jerseys and 5,000 exercise books to the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) midwived by the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI).
The monarch thanked him for this gesture which brought joy to the children on the sports project not knowing it’s Offa project he was assisting.
Former African and Commonwealth champion, Kasali Lasisi, national weightlifting coach Chris Nwadei, the Organising Secretary Mr Niyi Tinuoye, the Administrative Manager Mrs Adejoke Bamidele were in the palace to add panache and colour to the visit.
Meanwhile, Mr Babatunde Fowler, has said that the National Joint Tax Board will adopt the blueprint of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service as a model in the nation.
Fowler disclosed this at the opening of the 137th Joint Tax Board meeting Monday in Ilorin.
He noted that the decision to adopt KWIRS blueprint of changing the people, process and technology for tax collection and management was premised on the success the State has recorded in its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that has been boosted by over 100 per cent increment since the revenue body took charge of the revenue collection.
The FIRS boss expressed optimism that other states will record the same success if the Kwara blueprint is followed thoroughly.
Besides, he commended the state government for judiciously using the revenue generated to increase the standard of living of the people through provision of infrastructures.
Fowler therefore, charged the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed to advocate the adoption of Kwara State model of granting autonomy to its revenue service by other state governors.
While declaring open the meeting, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed noted that tax authorities across the country can benefit tremendously from synergy and cross-pollination of ideas.
Alhaji Ahmed stated that while the ongoing recession has restricted the ability of government at all levels to meet all her obligations, the state’s tax-funded Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) is helping it fund high-value projects.
He, therefore, appealed to all to join hands with the government in improving the revenue profile of the state. Governor Ahmed noted that tax payment is a civic responsibility and stressed that government cannot provide the required infrastructure without tax revenue.
In the evening of his first day, the visitors were hosted to a dinner where
they were entertained by a popular comedian, Sheyi-Law, who cracked jokes to the delight of dignitaries present.
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who was represented by a member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Moshood Bakare stressed that the Joint Tax board meeting in the state is pertinent in exposing the citizens to tax education.
He however called on the public to pay their tax to KWIRS as the revenue generated would be used for infrastructural development in the state. A live band was on hand to entertain the guests.