By Michael Odiah
Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie has said that based on the various measures that have been put in place in the Finance Ministry since the inception of the Okowa administration, he was optimistic that the financial base of the State would continue to be strengthened through prudent management of resources and investment in viable projects while looking for new areas of economic growth.
Edevbie stated this during his appearance at the 2018 Ministerial Press Briefing on the activities of his ministry stressing that, the Finance Ministry is determined to ensure an efficient cum reliant stakeholders friendly milieu to promote a more stable and confident financial system in the State.
He said that the performance of the internally generated revenue over the period of review despite the recession was a clear testimony in this regard of growth, noting, “We will however continually seek new measures to improve while we also continue with the improvements of the physical infrastructure to ensure that the working environment is comfortable for staff.”
Edevbie further said that in order to ensure quality, efficiency and responsiveness of its service delivery, the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) tax administration machinery was being overhauled through systematic repositioning of the structure of the organization and staff mobility “stressing that, “the Board also is collaborating with the judiciary and security agencies with a view to stepping-up tax compliance and enforcement. It has also stepped-up taxpayer education through the media. To expand the database of taxpayers, the Board is also focusing on capturing more than 70% of taxable persons in the informal sector in the State in the tax net. It has also increased its tax agent database from 1800 to over 5800.
The finance commissioner also spoke on internal and external debt management, where He stated that the Debt Management Department of his Ministry had ensured the standardization of the debt management framework in the State as required by the Debt Management Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance. “Consequently, a standard template for Debt management is being utilized in the State while an accurate and reliable debt database has been put in place. In this regard, the debt stock of the State stood at N228,328,360,009.20 as at end of December, 2017” he added.
Edevbie assured that in line with the state government policy of timely and effective service delivery to the people, it is committed to paying regularly the monthly salaries of civil servants and other workers, adding that however, owing to the continuous decline in the revenues accruing to the state most especially from the federation account; it has been difficult to meet the full payment of all pension commitments.
The Commissioner further said that as an internal control mechanism and in compliance with statutory regulations, the books of accounts of MDAs are regularly inspected, adding that, this routine exercise has to a large extent instilled a moral check on MDAs as evident in the prompt remittance to the states treasury of salaries and pensions over-payment, proper keeping of accounting records by MDAs, remittance of withholding and value added taxes by higher institutions which are hitherto un-deducted and unremitted and prompt payment of all revenues collected on behalf of government into the treasury.