The Community Town Hall Meeting in Jalingo, Taraba state.
The Jalingo community Town Hall was organized in conjunction with the Nigerian-American Exchange Alumni Association Taraba State Chapter. The dialogue, therefore, was aimed at providing that platform for all relevant stakeholders in revenue generation to discuss, showcase successes and challenges with a view of agreeing on workable decisions for effective revenue/tax collection and utilization for transformation service delivery. The meeting was held on Saturday the 24th of March 2018 at the Auditorium of the Hope Afresh Foundation in Jalingo the Taraba State Capital. The program was attended by dignitaries including one of the past chairmen of the Taraba Board of Internal Revenue, Alh. Adamu Sani Kona, the President Nigerian-American Exchange Alumni Association Taraba State Chapter Mr. Al-Amin Suleiman Tafida, and other executives councils of over 20 different Tax Payer's Associations. Hence the discussions continue;
Discussions and Presentations
The co-founder followtaxes welcomed the participants to the program and highlighted the importance why the program needs to be held. He pointed out the poor transparency in governance everywhere in Nigeria, and he told the participants that, that is was miscreants are standing on to develop acts of corruption. According to him, it is based on that this project was created. The co-founders points were buttressed by the president US exchange Alumni who gave a wonderful speech on taxation governance and the need for effective participation in government.
The Government Delegation
The Presentation on the role of taxation in the budget and the well-being of citizen was presented by the Mr.Nata’la Kaigama from the Budget Office Taraba State Planning Commission. He highlighted that there is a strong need to pay taxes as it is the backbone of any government and it is vital in keeping the system running. He continued that in taxation, taxpayers have the right to ask questions about what and how it is being used. Hence all Tax paying organizations must be involved in the 2019 budget process as a town hall meeting will be called for a bilateral discussion between taxpayers and the finance department at the state planning commission.
Panelist Discussions and Answers.
After introductions, the floor opened for discussion to the panelist. Different questions were asked, and issues were raised. few among are from the tricycle association secretary: Mallam Abdullah Dan Bello who pointed out issues like It is observed that Tax collectors often allegedly divert Tax funds they collect for their own personal use. And that the government also does not involve taxpayers in any empowerment programs instead they only involve politicians who don't contribute much to revenue generation. He added that his association has paid over 80 million naira worth of taxes from 2012 to date. The state Chairman Sheep and Goat Seller's Association, Malam Umar may Awaki, also added on the issues of Multiple and Illegal taxations by various government agencies mostly by security apparatus. Resulting in often delays at checkpoints for long hours leading to loss of livestock due to high temperature in the vehicle.
Discussions continued with various questions and answers from the audience. After an; extensive deliberation and discussion, the meeting came to an end with agreed communique to address the raised issues, and to be forwarded to the right authorities. Attached as Annex is the communique.