Mr Okon Okon, Executive Chairman,Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Service.
The Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS), Mr. Okon Okon, said the adoption of Single Interstate Road Tax Sticker (SIRTS) and the Single Haulage Fee (SHF) initiative of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), will end multiple taxation and improve the ease of doing business for transporters.
Mr Okon who stated at a sensitisation workshop with transport stakeholders on single interstate road tax sticker and single haulage fee, noted that adopting the JTB initiative was in pursuance of harmonizing road tax system.
Unifying the tax system, according to him will curb harassment of transport operators on the road by different unions because “once you pay for a sticker in one location, that same sticker will be recognized everywhere like it is done in the civilized parts of the world”.
“It is in furtherance of that objective that the JTB appointed a consultant to coordinate and also remove these services from complete analog to digital platform so that it can be easier for us to communicate and transact business from one place to another without hindrances on our way.”
He said the approach will make doing business a pleasant experience in Nigeria, soliciting the cooperation and support of the stakeholders so that the initiative would be achieved in the state.
The commissioner for Transport, Mr Uno Etim Uno, who recalled incidence where transporters have been harassed by unions and task force set up by several states across the nation, expressed optimism that with the single interstate road tax sticker and the single haulage fee, such issues would be solved.
Uno affirmed his total support for the initiative which he described as a welcome development.
The head, technical service department, JTB, Dr Nneka Esomeju, said the engagement was part of the roll-out for the implementation of the initiative which she said was not new but is contained in the taxes and levies act.
Esomeju said they were in the state to ensure the message get down to the stakeholders and ensure that they were totally on ground for the implementation of the initiative.
She stressed that the essence of the engagement was to enable the team sensitize and create awareness among stakeholders in the transport sector and ensure they understand the initiative.
The JTB team leader, who said “we cannot achieve success unless we are here”, described the stakeholders as pivotal to the successful implementation of the the programme.
She added that another aim of the initiative was to avoid multiple taxation in the system.
According to her, “this initiative is important and also more efficient, instead of the analog way we are doing, we hope to achieve a centralized collection so that at the end of the day, everyone will benefit from the revenue collected.”
Also speaking, the Federal Road Safety Corp sector Commander, Matthew Olonisaye commended JTB for initiating the programme saying it would curtail clashes that usually ensue on the road between transport operators and task collectors.
The consultant to JTB, Mr Momoh Aliyu did a presentation on the overview of SIRTS/SHF initiative, enumeration module, roles of enforcer and enforcement strategy, application and incentives.
Aliyu said the implementation of the initiative will be driven by an e-enforcement platform, adding that the enforcement agents will have border vehicle at various entry/exit points, that can capture the number of a vehicle at a far distance.
Commenting on single interstate road tax sticker, Aliyu said the sticker “is for all kinds of vehicles that crosses each interstate borders”, adding that when it is bought at N3,500 it can be used across all the 36 states including the FCT without nobody harassing you anywhere you go for one year.
The consultant explained that Single Haulage Fee are the taxes associated with commercial vehicles, truck and trailer carrying goods from one state to the other state within the country.
High point of the engagement meeting was interactive session.