By Eyitayo Oyelowo
Revenue generation is the path to modern development. For government at all levels to meet the demands of its citizenry in terms of basic infrastructure, sustainable revenue is key. For most state governments, these means effective collection and management of revenue.
In the light of this, when the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed got re-elected into office in 2015, his first line of action was to reposition the revenue collection process through the change in people, process and technology having realized that the allocation coming to the state from the federal government had dwindled.
This repositioning birthed the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) in January 2016. Without mincing words, the existence of the revenue agency has changed the financial position of the state.
In its first year of operation of the agency boosted the state IGR by over 400%. Mind you, the agency did not impose fresh taxes on individuals and businesses in the state, it only assesses and enforces payment of due taxes, levies, fees and charges in the state.
This laudable increase led to the establishment of Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) in September 2016, where the revenue house has been contributing a total sum of N500 million on monthly basis to fund infrastructure.
According to the State government, the scheme is to serve as a sustainable funding window for the implementation of major infrastructural projects.
Through IF-K, the State government has been able to fund ongoing projects and initiated new ones across the State. Some of the major projects initiated under the scheme are the ongoing construction of Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass, ongoing KWASU campus in Ilesha-Baruba and Ekiti LG, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin and dualisation of Kulende-UITH-Oke Ose road project.
Also the internationally recognized Light-Up Kwara Project (LUK) on major roads in the metropolis is included under the IF-K.
The Infra Fund Kwara scheme has no doubt fortified the Governor Ahmed-led administration’s capacity to bridge the infrastructure gap across the State despite the current economic challenges.
Therefore, one can conclude that the growth in the State’s IGR and its successful utilization under the IF-K scheme has made positive contribution to the development of infrastructures in the State and the government has pledged not to rest on its oars until it ensures a balanced approach to IGR appropriation for even infrastructural across the State.
IGR-driven IFK has also boosted Kwara State’s growing reputation for project continuity and Governor Ahmed’s image as perhaps the only Governor without abandoned projects.
Indeed, based on the funding structure put in place by the government under IFK, Governor Ahmed has vowed to keep implementing infrastructure until his last day in office. Only a well structured and innovative funding scheme such as IFK can provide such confidence.