Conrade Adams Oshiomhole
Conrade Adams Oshiomhole

Taxation is the process whereby government through its agencies collect levies, rates or fees from individuals, corporate organizations, industries and companies for the purpose of meeting its social responsibilities of providing good roads, schools, hospitals, security, electricity, payment of salaries and other services to the people.
The   history of taxation is as old as man.  However, the process of taxation has undergone series of innovations over the years. In the past, the method of collecting taxes and levies was very crude and uncivilized, and people were chased about, harassed and intimidated to pay tax. It usually force some people to flee into the forest, especially the taxable adults in the rural areas. Many organizations and business concern were muscled out of existence due to harsh tax policy.
No matter how good or bad the tax policy of’ any government may be, it remains a veritable instrument for galvanizing resources for development and social welfare programmes.
Here in Edo State, the administration of Comrade Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole has revolutionized the taxation process with the establishment of Edo State Internal Revenue Services under the Chairmanship of Chief Oseni Elamah. The administration no doubt inherited a moribund taxation system, whereby people and organizations were taxed arbitrarily, some times amounting to multiple or double taxation, in the form of ticketing, harassment and barricade of the highway as well as molestation. The fund in most cases goes into private pocket instead of government coffers, and it was not used for developmental purpose.
Since the inauguration of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service by the present administration in the State, a tax friendly environment has been created. For instance, a befitting ICT based headquarters of EIRS was built and commissioned by the Comrade Governor in Benin City and staff with professionals in tax matter. There was the enactment of the revenue administration law which gave legal backing to the reforms in 2012. The tax operations in the State were streamlined to ensure uniform rates, levies and fees throughout the ensure State.
Furthermore, the Chairman of’ the Edo State Internal Revenue Service, Chief Oseni Elamah introduced series of innovations and brought in elements of international best practices in tax collection and administration. Loopholes were blocked, touting were elimination, thereby increasing the internally generated revenue of government which was at it lowest ebb when the present administration took over in 2008. Right now, the EIRS generates between 1 .5 Billion naira and 2 Billion naira monthly as against the paltry sum of N280 Million naira generated monthly under previous administrations.
Interestingly, the EIRS has put in place a conflict resolution mechanism in the form of Tax Assessment Review Committee to address cases of over taxation, under taxation, as well as those who evade tax. This was consolidated with the establishment of a well managed tax database to improve performance in revenue collection up to 80% or more.
Little wonder therefore that in a recent report by the National Economic Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria M.A.N, Edo State was adjudged the most tax friendly State in the country. The report revealed that while other states were imposing between 20 to 97 different types of taxes and levies, Edo State Manufacturers were only paying 16 taxes and levies out of the 19 taxes and levies approved by the Federal government as contained in the approved taxes and levies Act cap T2 LFN of
At this point, it must be emphasized that taxation plays important role in the socio-economic development of any society. It  gratifying to note that in Edo State tax payers money is been judiciously utilized by the Comrade Governor to provide good roads across the State, good schools and hospitals, Comrade Buses, beautification of the City as well as the construction of drainages to control erosion, especially in Benin City. The  revenue accruing to the State from the federation account is being augmented with the Internally Generated Revenue from taxes, levies and fees to pay workers salaries and execute other capital projects and also meet recurrent expenditure of government.
Indeed, the tax reforms put in place in the last seven years are working positively. That of course explains why the State government under the leadership of Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and the Chairman of Edo State Internal Revenue Services, Chief Oseni Elamah have resolved to sustain and improve on the tax friendly environment already established in the State, in order to make Edo State the hub of investors and entrepreneurs. By so doing, industries will thrive and there will he job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the State.
Importantly, it pays to pay tax as and when due. It makes one a responsible citizen and it places us in a position to be able to demand accountability from government.  Above all it places us at an advantage position to enjoy public utilities, social welfare and other amenities and incentives from government.