Niger yet to access 50% of N3b UBE grant – Govt
. Internal Revenue Board gets new boss
By Ummi Ismaeel,
Despite efforts to assess funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE), Niger State government says it has only accessed the 2013 funds after 50 percent marching order of over N3 billion between 2013 and 2015.
The Executive Chairman, Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), Alhaji Alhassan Bawa Niworu, disclosed this at the validation meeting on “Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA)” organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Organised in collaboration with Niger State government, Niworu said, “We are faced with the challenges of un-assessed money. Niger and Ondo states are lagging behind in assessing funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBEC).
“I was recently summoned to Abuja to answer a query about three years ago. It was when I got there that I discovered we have backlogs of monies to assess, whereas Borno and Nasarawa states had assessed theirs completely and are up to date.
“We have so far been able to fully assess only the 2013 funds. This is because, in 2013, we (Niger government) paid our 50 percent of N1 billion and got N1 bilion from the federal government too. In 2014 we paid over N900 million, in 2015 we paid more than N1 billion and we still have not been able to assess the backlogs of funds”.
Also, Niger State Head of Service, Alhaji Yabagi Alhaji Sule, said that the Governor Bello-led government has plans to identify vulnerable areas that are prone to corruption with the intents of tackling the cankerworm.
As part of strategies to check corruption, Yabagi said that the state government developed an action plan that would not only strengthen accountability and transparency but work towards enhanced public service delivery.
Meanwhile, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has approved the appointment of Alhaji Jibrin Yusuf Habibu as the acting Chairman, Niger State Board of Internal Revenue.
Habibu, a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigerian (CITN), graduated from Bayero University, Kano (BUK), and has spent decades in tax regimes sub-sector of the Nigerian economy at both state and federal level.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sani Bello, Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace, on Wednesday, stated that the appointment of Habibu was strictly on merit and track records of his years of experience in the relevant field.
The governor charged the acting chairman to bring his wealth of experience in restructuring and re-organizing the entire organization in line with the recommendations of the committee he set up to advice government on how to improve on revenue generation and increase the revenue base of the state.
The state’s revenue base is projected to at least N1 billion monthly for 2017 budget. This, according to findings, have fallen short of expectations of the government hence the appointment of a new chairman to meet the administration’s revenue target.
The new acting chairman, who hails from Kontagora (zone C), has served in various capacity as, Local Value Added Tax (VAT) Officer, Head Monitoring VAT and as well, Withholding and TAX Controller.
The 58-year-old tax administrator also attended several courses and skilled in effective team member and leadership, strategy and efficient decision.
Until his appointment, Habibu was State Coordinator; Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).