USAID S2S Holds Ebonyi Stakeholders Dialogue on Property Tax

By Israel Mbam

As part of her activities and program aimed at achieving accountability, traspirency and effectiveness in governance, and to chat way forward in Property Tax assessment and collections in Ebonyi State, USAID State2State on Tuesday 31st May and Wednesday 1st June 2022, held an IGR Dialogue for state and non state actors in Ebonyi State with focus on Property tax. The two days program was held at Osborne LaPalm Hotel, Abakaliki. 

In his welcome remarks, the Ebonyi State team lead of State2State, Barr Sam Onyia noted that the dialogue was meant to built capacity on property tax and open up conversation between the property tax administrators and the citizens of Ebonyi state.

The State team lead who was represented by State2State CE&CB specialist, Dr. Ibiam Azu called on participants to freely air their views on how best Government can improve on enumeration, assessment and collections of Property Tax in the State.
In her presentation, State2State PFM Specialist, Prof. Obiamaka Egbo who gave an overview of the IGR Public Private Dialogue, noted that Property Tax is a necessity and that opinion of the stakeholders would be aggregated to enhance payments and collection of IGR in Ebonyi State.

Three Panel sessions were held in each of the days. These include; Property Enumeration in Ebonyi State: Efforts, progress, challenges and way forward; Property Tax Administration, Regulations, policies and legal Backing in Ebonyi State; Property valuation for Property Tax in Ebonyi State.

Others were IGR Potentials of Property Tax in Ebonyi State; Property Assessment for tax collection; and  improved Citizens awareness for effective Property Tax Administration in Ebonyi State.

Identified ssues, progress made and recommendation on each of the sessions were discussed and Communique reached at the end of the dailogoue.

In an interview, one of the participants and Eexecutive Director of New Foundation, Dr. Kelechi Okezie said the dialogue was informative, as issues discussed at the dialogue addressed the concerns of many taxpayers.

"We were informed that property tax is a statutory obligation of citizens who own properties. The tax regime or amount to pay as property tax is premised on certain variables such as location of property, size of property and purpose of property.
"We also learnt that Internal Revenue Service is mandated by law to collect the tax and the income is shared between the state and local government on 30:70% basis respectively. Those who feel they have been assessed wrongly can appeal such assessment through tax arbitration committee. 

"Taxation is a form of IGR that enables the government meet it's social contract with the citizens. As civil society organisation we are encouraged to help disseminate the information for citizens to pay their tax, and monitor how government expend or uses citizens taxes and other resources. 
"The State Internal Revenue Service also revealed that efforts are in gear to have a comprehensive and IT driven software that captures all properties and their values in the state. So we thank the USAID State2State for organizing the PP dialogue." he concluded.

The two days dialogue had in attendance Staff and management of the State Internal Revenue Service, Permanent secretaries and staff of the ministries of Finance and Economic Development, Lands, Housing, Education, Commerce and Industry, Information, Justice and other line ministries.

 Also in attendance were the Accountant General of the State, Chairman Chartered Institute of Taxation, Chairperson Market Women Association, Executive Secretary Bureau of public Procurement, Chairman Nigeria Association of small scale Industrialist, Chairman, Ebonyi State Chamber of Commerce, CSOs, the Media among others.


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