Lagos State As A Role Model For Other States On Internally Generated Revenue

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Looking at the recently reported Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of various States across the country by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), we were marveled to note how Lagos State has maintained a high IGR between 2015 and 2016, and even the years before that, Lagos States was said to have an IGR of N301, 192,153,744, in 2016, as opposed to N268, 224,782,435 in 2015.

Agreed that Lagos State was a former capital of Nigeria with a lot of ‘foundational’ infrastructure from the Central Government back then, and Lagos also has massive populations of Nigerians from all walks of life, intellect, expertise, etc., all of which have given Lagos the advantage to be developed by Nigerians irrespective of where they came from; but it is important to also note that Lagos, has had a good record of State Governors who, regardless of whatever flaws they must have had, still sustained the ability to ‘properly manage’ the resources of the State to the benefit of its increasing population.

Right from Nigeria’s democratic dispensation, we can say that political leaders in Lagos State have maintained a standard of ‘excellence’ in the management of its articulately generated public funds in the interest of a growing population that is said to be over 20 million people. With such a massive population, it is without a doubt that ‘managing the State’ is not a Child’s play. Yet, political leaders of Lagos State have been able to maintain such high IGR all these years without Oil and Gas which many political leaders in the South-South think they cannot do without or survive without.

There was even a time Lagos State was not receiving Federal Government Allocations under the Obasanjo era, over squabbles they had concerning Local Government Councils creation. But Lagos State was able to survive all these years simply because their political leaders have obviously learnt how to generate revenue outside Government and use same to develop the State in the interest of Nigerians in that State.

Though, other States also had some increase in the recent records of IGR of different States, none of them is anything close to that of Lagos State. The report showed that Adamawa had the highest 2016 IGR in the entire north east with N7, 586, 325,742.00bn as against the 2015 figure of N4, 451,736,117.84bn. Kaduna state also recorded a higher IGR in 2016 earning a total of N15, 497, 146,652.84bn as against the N11, 536,729,988.59bn in 2015. Kwara state also witnessed increased revenue despite the national recession with N16, 458, 660, 456.68bn in 2016, as against N7, 178,922,182.76bn the previous year. Also, Kogi state in 2016 got N7, 728,015,286.78bn, higher than the IGR of N6, 728,015,286.78bn in 2015. Benue State raked in N8, 888, 314, 005.20bn IGR in 2016, whereas in 2015 it had just about N7, 631,789841.37bn.

Plateau State also enjoyed a boost in IGR in 2016 despite recession with N9, 090, 755,996.94bn as opposed to N6, 937, 349, 802.70bn recorded in 2015. Yobe State also had increased IGR in 2016 with N3,800, 220, 831.62bn, whereas in 2015 it got N2, 251,330,427.39bn. Kano State had N34, 461, 259,121.44bn,while in 2015 it had a comparatively meager N13, 611, 853,935.85bn. Zamfara also got a bigger IGR with N4, 205,834,325.58bn in 2016 whereas in 2015,it only got N2, 741,632,541.03bn.

Akwa Ibom received higher IGR also in 2016 with N16, 591, 752,474.00bn as against the N14, 791,175,253.00bn in 2015, while our own dear Delta State received also, a higher IGR in 2016 with N44, 893,109,728.74bn, but got N40, 893,109,728.74bn in 2015. Edo, Lagos, and Ogun states had N20, 675,784, 964.30bn, N301, 192,153,744, and N301, 192,153,744 in 2016, as opposed to N19, 117,468,369.25bn, N268, 224,782,435 and N268, 224,782,435 earned by Edo, Lagos and Ogun respectively in 2015.

No wonder many stakeholders have often compared Lagos to New York city and other cities in US. New York City is just an advanced city of Lagos. As said by Chido Okafor in a Facebook post.

For us and the political leaders in Delta State, the story is different when it comes to IGR and the State Government doing what is expected of them as custodians of the State’s resources. And we believe one of the reasons why Delta State’s internally generated revenue has not been what it is supposed to be, unlike Lagos, is because Delta State has been made to become hostile to businesses and prospective investors.

The Delta State ports are not functioning as expected and Warri and environs have no standard airport. The one in Osubi is just a private Airstrip that cannot allow big aircrafts to land or take off from. Youth violence (youth restiveness) is going on unrestrained with kidnapping and other criminal activities on the increase. The former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan administration was carefree and indifferent when big oil companies like Shell(SPDC) wanted to leave the State. The former Governor Uduaghan was more interested in hustling to buy Shell Clinic and other property than the negative impact Shell (SPDC) exit would cost the State.

As such, Shell (SPDC) successfully divested their major interests in Delta State without any fight from the Uduaghan Government, and they relocated to Lagos and Port Harcourt leaving Warri and environs to become ‘ghost towns’ for business. In fact, Shell left with thousands of companies/contractors out of Delta State and this created a great loss of internally generated revenue. Since Ibori and Uduaghan tenures and up till now, Shell (SPDC) was, and is still unable to export crude oil from Forcados terminal because of militant activities, while Bonny terminal in Rivers State is booming with crude oil exports.

Uduaghan and Ibori did not do well at all in this regard, unlike their counterpart back then, former Governor Amaechi of Rivers State, who did his best to persuade Shell(SPDC) to remain in Port-Harcourt. Also, Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode of Lagos State persuaded and are still persuading companies to remain in Lagos with a lot of incentives to attract investments. But the situation in Delta State is absolutely different. Companies pay taxes to generate revenue if they are there but as of today, Warri is a ghost town.

And those companies’ taxes, withholding taxes, personal income taxes of personnel from these companies, including Shell (SPDC) that have relocated out of Delta State, would have been coming to Delta State as Internally generated revenue to boost the State’s economy. Our Delta State political leaders have ruined the economy of Delta State deliberately for their selfish gains. And they have forced companies to relocate from Delta State to States like Rivers, Edo, Lagos, etc. in fact, Delta State political leaders are the ones who have deliberately created artificial crises to get ‘Security Votes’ money that will not be accounted for.

We could see that no business man will like to invest in such a hostile place like Delta State. Just last year, it was reported that the Lagos State Government signed a $135 million (N85 billion) agreement with a foreign firm as part of its new Waste Management policy, and we could not help but wonder why State Governments like the one in Delta State, have not thought of or made such bold moves to address its waste management problem that has made the State and its cities to become “ghetto slums” and “environmental hazards waiting to happen.”

The same Lagos State Government under Ambode, last year reportedly commissioned and handed over modern security gadgets to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) arm of the Nigerian Police in the state. The gadgets, put at the cost of N4.6 billion, were procured courtesy of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), a joint contribution between the state government and corporate bodies in Lagos.

We just could not help but wonder how come State Governors like that of Delta State Ifeanyi Okowa, emulate such ‘remarkable feat’ of providing needed modern security gadgets for the Delta State Police Command. What stops the Delta State Governor and other State Governors from doing the same thing the Lagos State Governor has done for the Police in its State?

It is true that we really do not have ‘maintenance culture’ in Nigeria, but Lagos State can be said to be doing a lot to sustains its infrastructural demands. And for Delta State, the truth is that our political leaders should put their acts together to bring about the needed development that we all seek. Delta State can be a “high flyer State” if not up to Lagos State; if only they let go of being self-serving in the management of States resources. The so-called “youths restiveness” (youth violence) in Delta State today is a huge problem which has continued to scare away business people from investing in places like Warri and environs that are commercial nerve centres of the State.

Imagine the other day, three able-bodied young men came to my residence in Effurun Area and demanded for a so called “flare levy” which they said that my Generator is emitting gas fumes and therefore, I should pay for it. Then I asked them if they have electricity supply in their homes, and they said no! And then I explained to them that I, and many others are not, and cannot be happy to buy generators, fuel and maintain it just to have power supply which the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) is not able to provide. If there was regular power supply, there will not be need for any person to buy generators in the first place.

So you can see that our youths have become pawns in the hands of greedy political leaders because of unemployment, and this has made them become problems to our society. That is one. Another question is, what does it take for the Delta State Government to expand the “private Osubi Airstrip” near Warri into a Standard Airport with a bigger runway? The land for the said expansion is already there, all the airport facilities are of top standard, and all the Delta State Government needs to do is to expand the Osubi Airstrip runway to a Standard Airport runway so as to accommodate the landing and take-off of big aircrafts.

The Warri Ports are okay but ships owners avoid it because of youths who hang around to extort money from them. We need to advise our political leaders in these lines. Our political leaders should provide a condusive and comfortable environment for companies to be attracted to want to come and invest in Delta State to boost the State economy by increasing our internally generated revenue. And to also provide employment opportunities for our jobless youths. Lagos is conducive for businesses to strive hence people prefer going there. There is no magic to this. Delta State has the natural environment to be like Lagos if fully utilized.

Zik Gbemre, JP.

We Mobilize Others to Fight for Individual Causes as if Those Were Our Causes.

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