Mr. Okon Okon, Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service.

Abasifreke Effiong, Uyo

The Executive Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS, Mr Okon Okon, has advised young professionals in the state to cultivate the habit of financial discipline and paying tax.

Speaking on the theme, “building and mastering personal finance” at a mentorship programme for young entrepreneurs and intending startups, organised by young professionals forum, Akwa Ibom state, Mr Okon said tax evasion is detrimental to the existence, health, growth and sustainability of businesses.

He said when businesses pay tax they are contributing to the economy, and a viable economy is what every business needs to thrive.

Okon, a top-class economist, banker and chartered tax administrator, took the young professionals drawn from different sectors including tech, finance, agro and allied services, food and beverages, media and real estate through a step-by-step process on how to start, grow, manage business and personal finance.

He pointed out that living an expenditure-driven lifestyle was a major pitfall in managing finance among young people, advised that they should draw out their priorities, budget, ration their finances and align their personal expenditure to their income.

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“I have seen a lot of young people borrow money to spend on things that will wear and tear, this is wrong. I am not saying that borrowing is bad, but you will earn my respect when you borrow to invest.”

“Planning as well as setting priorities in lifestyle is at the heart of managing personal finance. You have to set investment goals for yourself, such goals will help you prioritise your expenditures. I always advise that you don’t allow money to meet you without a plan.”

“As young professionals, think out your investment goals clearly. Cultivate the habit of keeping business record so that you can distinguish between your income and profit. I usually would advise entrepreneurs to place themselves on salary, and do not live beyond your means.”

Mr Okon encouraged the young professionals to plan for their retirement early in life, and should inculcate the habit of generational wealth transfer.

“As young professionals, please make crucial plans for your retirement. Don’t plan to depend on your children, or relatives during retirement. It is usually not sustainable”, he cautioned.

Other speakers at the July edition of the young professional forum’s mentorship class including Mr Ubong Obot, Managing Director of Ubotex Limited, Nsikan Netima, CEO of Netima republic also discussed tips on starting, growing, managing business and personal finance.