Recently, Kwara ranked second in the Africa Report Magazine’s Progress Report, tagged ‘The State of the States’. Among the indices used by the reputed magazine for the ranking include fighting poverty, providing access to electricity, facilitating business and raising local revenue.
In terms of Internally Generated Revenue per capita, Kwara ranked seventh among the 36 states of Nigeria. This rating is remarkable as Kwara in the past, rarely featured among states with high IGR. This feat was usually reserved for State like Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Delta and Kano.
But the revenue reform initiated by the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has made it possible for Kwara to attain this remarkable feat. The establishment of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) by the governor in 2015 witnessed a change in the people, process and technology of revenue collection in the state.
KWIRS in its two years of operation successfully restructured the State’s revenue collection and management by blocking revenue leakages and significantly shoring up the state’s IGR without imposing new taxes.
In terms of change in IGR ,according to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) IGR figures for all states financial year 2014-2016, Kwara moved from the least at -43% in 2014/2015 to second during its IGR reform in 2015/2016, bringing the overall change in IGR of the state to about 173%.
From the JTB/NBS figures, no State in the country has recorded such feat. Since 2016, Kwara State annual change in IGR has hovered around 14-16%, while Lagos’s stands at around 7-8% according to JTB/NBS.
Putting the above statistics into figures, in 2016, KWIRS generated a total of N17.4b IGR for the State, which is higher than the N7.2b the State realized in 2015. In 2017, the agency generated a total of N19.6b, recording a 13.82 per cent growth from the 2016 figures.
While in the first four months of 2018, KWIRS generated N7.7 billion which marks a 70 per cent increase over that of 2017.
The significant rise in IGR has increased the State government’s capacity to implement infrastructural projects in different parts of the State.
This increase in September 2016 saw the Ahmed-led administration launch the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK), as a sustainable platform designed to finance infrastructure without reliance on federal allocation.
IF-K is being financed through an initial N5 billion seed fund, and a N500 million monthly contribution from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Since its establishment, the State government has released over N13 billion to contractors handling various road projects across the State.
Furthermore, through IFK, More than 144.5km of roads have been constructed by the state government while some are ongoing and are at various levels of completion.
Some ongoing projects being funded under IF-K are the Geri-Alimi Diamond Underpass, dualisation of Sango-UITH road, Ultra-modern Secretariat, Light-Up Kwara (LUK) project, KWASU campuses in Ekiti and Ilesha-Baruba, KWASU Post Graduate School in Ilorin, among others.
Giving the above, it is therefore understandable why Africa Report will rank Kwara State second among the 36 states of the federation using Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as one of the indices.