The Ministry of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has initiated reforms to encourage establishment and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in the nation’s capital.
Malam Muhammad Bello, the FCT Minister, disclosed this on Thursday in Akure at the opening of a stakeholders’ retreat organised by the FCT Internal Revenue Service.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat is to harmonise and inaugurate a system of revenue collection to facilitate the ease of doing business in the Federal Capital Territory.
Bello, represented by the Permanent Secretary, FCT, Mr Olusade Adesola, said the reform would entail the implementation of a digital platform to be called the FCT Business Portal for the issuance of permits, licenses, and approvals.
He explained that the digital platform would allow businesses and individuals to apply for and receive all necessary permits and licenses online, without the need for physical visits to government offices.
“In addition, we are working to streamline and simplify regulations and procedures for business registration, property registration, and land use planning.
“These reforms will help to create a more transparent, predictable, and efficient regulatory environment for businesses,” he said.
Bello, however, said that none of the proposed reforms could be successful without the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.
He stressed the need for active participation and engagement of businesses, investors, and civil society organisations to ensure that the reforms were effective, inclusive and above all sustained.
“I say this because in the next few weeks the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will exit after the conduct of a free, fair and transparent election and hand over to a new administration.
“The need for continuity will be brought into even sharper focus and this can only be achieved by the collective resolve of all to ensure that this happens.
“In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the harmonisation of revenue and promotion of ease of doing business in the FCT are not just technical or administrative issues.
“They are critical components of our efforts to create a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable Capital Territory for all.
“By working together, we can overcome the challenges we face and build a brighter future for the FCT and its residents,” the FCT Minister said.
Bello expressed the hope that the retreat would bring together the broad spectrum of stakeholders to rub minds and exchange ideas on how best to ensure to attain the highest IGR generating sub-national status.
“It is my utmost delight, therefore, to see so many relevant stakeholders from across the country here this morning and I have no iota of doubt that you will meet the objectives for which you have organised this programme,” he said.
Declaring the retreat open, Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, described revenue generation as critical and crucial to sustainable socioeconomic development of any society, especially in a developing economy.
Akeredolu, who was represented by Mr Wale Akinterinwa, the state Commissioner for Finance, said that the Akeredolu-led Administration met a politically motivated tax system and a non- functioning Board of Internal Revenue
“Today, we can boldly say that we have changed the Internally Generated Revenue narratives of the state without introducing extra burden on our citizens,” the governor said.
The Executive Chairman, FCT-IRS, Mr Haruna Abdullahi, said that the vision of the body was to establish a world-class revenue collection system in the FCT that is transparent, accountable, and efficient.
Abdullahi also explained that the aim of the FCT-IRS was to achieve this by creating a single, unified platform and dashboard that would enable it to track and monitor all revenue generated in the FCT.
“Our goal is to ensure that all revenue in FCT is properly accounted for and reported, with the highest level of transparency and accuracy.
“This will help to build trust and confidence among the people and encourage them to support our revenue generation efforts.
“We also aim to use technology to streamline our revenue collection processes, reduce inefficiencies, and improve service delivery to the people.
“Ultimately, we believe that by achieving our vision, we can create a vibrant and prosperous FCT that will be the envy of the nation,” he said.(NAN)