One of the most capitalised financial institutions, Fidelity Bank Plc has recorded a cumulative collections of over N300bn in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for all the three tiers of government over a period of 10 years. This is significant in view of the steep decline in monthly federal allocations to both state and local governments precipitated by the free fall in global oil prices and the need for states to meet their respective revenue mobilisation target in the 2016 fiscal year.
Speaking at the inaugural edition of the Anambra State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Summit held in Awka, weekend, Managing Director/Chief executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc., Nnamdi Okonkwo said that the bank had attained this feat by simply driving efficiency in the revenue collection process. According to the Bank Chief, the lender is properly positioned to play dominant roles in Nigeria’s Electronic Payments and Services Market.
“We pioneered Informal Sector IGR Collections with our successful deployment of the Point of Sale (PoS) Terminal Tax Collections in Abia, Imo and Sokoto States”, Okonkwo stated. This model, he explained has also been requested for and adopted by other state governments. “As a bank, we deployed Automated Electronic Motor Vehicle License to Sokoto, Anambra, Abia and Kano States. We also successfully deployed the first electronic collection solutions for Ondo State (IGR), Anambra and Abia State Land Registry Automation Processes”, adding that the conference could not have come at a better time, given the present economic situation.
Reflecting on the mood of the country, Okonkwo stressed the need for all tiers of government to seek alternative sources of revenue generation to meet financial obligations and live up to the expectations of the citizenry. “We are eagerly looking forward to building a veritable partnership with the Anambra State government to aid its collection of such revenues and help improve its IGR”, He assured the governor and good people of Anambra state of the Bank’s unflinching commitment towards helping the state meet its financial obligations. “As a bank, we want the Anambra State government to live up to the expectations of its citizenry”, The Bank Chief explained that the lender has made significant strides in the deployment of a robust electronic banking system including internet, mobile banking and payment platforms, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, card solutions, and money transfer services. He noted that with about 4, 000 PoS machines, 731 ATMs, and an E-banking income increase of 128.4 percent y-o-y to N4.5 billion and 115.4 percent q-o-q, according to the 2015 Q3 reports, the Bank’s efforts at promoting cash-lite economy is yielding desired results.
In his opening remarks, Governor, Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, said that the state has set a monthly revenue target of N2.2bn for the state in the year 2016. Pointedly, he said that the IGR summit was a bold validation of Fidelity Bank’s leadership position in the banking industry and expressed confidence in the lender’s ability to support the state in its quest to improve IGR.
Alluding to plans by his administration to deploy specially modified PoS devices across the state, Governor Obiano vowed to attain the revenue target without increasing taxes and promised to sanitize the revenue collection process by weeding out fraudsters who pose as collection agents to fleece tax payers.
“This year, we intend to move our IGR from N1.4bn where it is currently to about N2.2bn monthly. And I believe it is doable. We will do this without increasing tax. We will not increase tax but we are going to enhance our method of collection and block the leakages. Most of our taxes have been going into private pockets. This time, I will clean up the system.” Giving vivid insight into the sorry state of international oil market and its adverse impact on the revenue accruable to states from the federal government, the Anambra State Governor said; “If I was receiving N100 from the Federal Government, I now receive N27.” He regretted that only four states currently pay salaries to workers as and when due in the country, thus the need to generate revenue internally to run the government