Mr Inyang Udoh, Special Assistant on Technical to the Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS, Mr. Okon Okon (left) receiving an excellence award from the Chairman of League of Veteran Journalists, Akwa Ibom state, on behalf of Mr. Okon.

Abasifreke Effiong

The Legaue of Veteran Journalists, Akwa Ibom State has given an award of excellence to the Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS, Mr. Okon Okon.

Mr. Okon was honoured alongside the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Moses Ekpo, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Nkan, and the State Accountant General, Mr. Uwem Andrew-Essien, during the first anniversary of the league.

The anniversary celebration held on August 17 at the Daniel Ekanem auditorium, NUJ press center, Uyo, brought together top veteran journalists both in the academia and the media industry in the State.

At the event, Mr. Okon Okon was honoured as patron of the league and celebrated as the icon of wealth creation for boosting the revenue base of Akwa Ibom State.

The chairman of the anniversary planning committee who is a formost veteran journalist, publisher and public relations executive, Mr. Okokon Robert said Mr. Okon was honoured for his creditable and compact services in AKIRS, particularly for the significant and steady improvement in the state’s internally generated revenue since he was appointed in 2017.

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According to Mr. Robert, “After selecting many persons who have distinguished themselves in service to the state, we realised that Mr. Okon Okon, the Executive Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service has performed creditably. He has risen the financial base and wealth of the state. Before he came in, the revenue options available to the state were not harnessed optimally and the revenue collection process was not as compact as it is now.”

“He came and has boosted the revenue base of the state and that is part of the funds that the Governor is using to build the wonderful infrastructure and other services provided for our people.”

“The selection for the award was done by the league privately and confidentially. This award is intended to spur him to do more in terms of raising more revenue, beefing up the revenue collection process so that the state government will have enough funds to continue building the state” he added.

Akwa Ibom state moved from the 13th position on the IGR performance ranking in 2017 when the current Board of AKIRS led by Mr. Okon Okon was inaugurated to sixth position in 2019 and has recorded over 20 % basic IGR growth, according to data published by the Joint Tax Board, Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and BudgIT.

Chairman of the Legaue of Veteran Journalists, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Chris Udofia, said members of the Legaue are torchbearers in the journalism profession and will continue to guide, mentor, advice the younger corps of journalists to play by the ethics of the profession and maintain a balance between their job and community development.

The awardee, Mr. Okon Okon, represented by his Special Assistant on Technical, Mr. Inyang Udo, thanked the Legaue for recognising the modest effort of the Board of AKIRS in interpreting the vision of the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to move the state towards fiscal independence and sustainability through taxation.

He dedicated the award to the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, whom he said had the vision for a new tax administration system in the state and followed through it by creating the enabling environment for AKIRS to operate.

Mr. Okon urged the League to continue to support the government by promoting the need for people to pay tax and encouraging a tax culture in the State.