Performing the ceremony in his office in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Dickson expressed optimism that, the passage and eventual signing of the bill has provided the much needed legal framework for the state government to shore up its revenues using legitimate means.
The Governor, who lamented that revenues accruing to the state have dropped almost by a quarter, underscored the need for the government to embark on an aggressive tax drive to strengthen its internally generated revenue base.
He said the legislation, which gives legal backing to the creation of a revenue court to adjudicate over tax related issues, would not only help to check the problem of tax evasion, but improve the IGR profile of the state to enable the government meet its development and welfare obligations to the people.
Governor Dickson, however, urged all taxable adults and corporate organizations, particularly multinational oil companies operating in the state to be alive to their tax obligations, as his administration would not hesitate to enforce extant laws to punish defaulters.
His words: “These are times that all citizens of our state, and all corporate organizations must fulfill their obligations to the state. From now on, with the signing of this bill, our tax drive will have an added impetus. Let me, therefore, use this opportunity again to call on the citizens of this state and all individuals in all our communities, especially those, who carry out economic activities in our capital to comply with the payment of their taxes for the good of the state.
“This call also goes to companies doing one form of business or the other, particularly the oil multinational firms operating in this state for several years and up till today, do not pay their commensurate tax liabilities. I like to inform them that the game has changed. With what the House of Assembly has done by passing this bill, and with the signing of it into law, we now have a new tax regime, where we have created a revenue court that will adjudicate over issues of tax liabilities for persons and companies.”
Presenting the bill for assent, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson said the bill was passed after subjecting it to a public hearing, where several non-governmental organizations made inputs.
According to the Speaker, the House gave the bill the attention it deserves, adding that, if properly implemented, the law will contribute immensely to increase revenues of the state.