The Town Hall meeting in Kafin Madaki community of Bauchi state.
The Bauchi town hall meeting was among the meeting that took the team a long time to plan and execute. This is because the state BIRS were among the states that showed interest in the event after coming in contact with the PPD in other states. Unfortunately, planning took a long time due to the peculiarity of how we intend to host the program. The town hall meeting was held in Kafin Madaki, a community of about 50 kilometers out of the Bauchi state capital. The meeting was attended by the Madakin Bauchi who is also the Emir of the Community – Ganjua Kafin Madaki, and all his chieftains in the kingdom. The delegation of the Bauchi state was led by the chairman Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS). Other dignitaries present include the Chief Imam of Kafin Madaki, the Sarkin Kasuwa (Chairman Kafin Madaki traders), members of the community, members of the media, CSOs and the Bauchi team of Followtaxes led by the Co-founder of followtaxes.
The Secretary of the Kafin Madaki Emirate council welcomed everybody in his welcoming address. He introduced FollowTaxes and the Chairman BIRS to the Emir and explained why it is important the the meeting has to hold. He explains the challenges they are facing around taxes, and hence they welcomed the event to their community. He encouraged the market and traders associations to have their questions ready and he assured them that they will get the required responses. The Secretary told the audience that the co-founder of followTaxes – Mr Saied Tafida will soon explain to them why the meeting is convened and the benefits the attendants will drive from the meeting. But before then he gave the Emir the room to welcome his subjects.
Madakin Bauchi, The Emir of Ganjuwa (Kafin Madaki)
The Emir thanked followTaxes for choosing his community to benefit from the enlightenment that he believes will benefit them. He called on his people to listen to what BIRS and FollowTaxes will have to say for an effective outcome. He added that they receive complains from his people every day over poor infrastructure. He affirmed to them, that it has to do with the taxes they pay. He said he can always approach the government anytime and request for a certain infrastructure if he can show that there is a good tax return from his community. He also admonishes the members of revenue authority resident in his community to work fairly and transparently to avoid any suspicion of corruption.
Co-founder of Followtaxes.
The Co-founder – Saied Tafida thanked the Emir for gracing the meeting with his presence and also for being part of the planning for a very long time. He welcomed guest to the event. He explained the reason for the community town hall and the reasons why the stakeholders need to commit towards achieving a better result. He introduced the activities and narrated the reason why all the participants need to actively participate. According to him, every answer or question in the room is right and everybody’s contributions are important. He insisted that because of the peculiarity of each community, the traditional chiefs, the tax authorities and the members of the community alike will have to dialogue together to come up with the best ways to enhance taxation, governance, and transparency around budget in their community. He concluded by welcoming all once again and wished the participants and himself a successful and meaningful dialogue that will yield the anticipated result.
The Chairman Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS)
The chairman started by thanking the Emir for making time to be part of the event he thanked the staff of the emirate council for making it possible, he thanked his members of staff for their patience in the process and the thanked the members of the public for being there. He pointed out the importance of gathering, and he said that was why he picked interest in making sure that it is hosted in the community. He appreciated FollowTaxes for not just only accepting his request but also making sure that the event held. He explained to the audience the importance of paying taxes, according to him, a person will only know the importance of his taxes if the security personnel are not around or if he goes to the hospital yet there is no doctors to attend to him. He said he is not praying for such scenarios. However, he insists that if taxes are not paid, that is not unavoidable because it is from taxes these people and other government functionaries are being paid. Especially now that there is dwindling allocation from the Federal Government. He also admonishes everybody to ask his questions and warned his staff that, whoever is reported to have been involved in corruption will be dealt with. The chairman ushered way for discussion and questions with the permission of the emir.
Discussions and Resolutions
The staff of the palace allowed people to start asking questions and give out suggestions and discussion. The representatives of the market associations were given the opportunity to ask questions first then followed by the residents of the community. 16 people in total asked questions and answers were given to them. At the end of the meeting, a summary of resolutions was arrived at (Attached as Annex). The chairman of BIRS promised to take it up himself to address what is raised as a concern in the community.