THE ISSUE of economic
diversification is a recurrent theme
in governance in Plateau State. This
is more so since the the country ran
into recession. One of the ways in
which the state government intends
to generate revenue to finance its
projects is through tax reforms.
It could be recalled that Governor
Simon Lalong recently said his
government has concluded plans to
diversify from relying on dwindling
oil revenue from the federation
account to agriculture as the driver of
the state’s economy in order to turn
around the fortunes of the state for
future economic prosperity.
He said the efforts were already
beginning to yield some dividends
for the state. Lalong made the
declaration at the Nigerian Embassy
in Johannesburg, South Africa, during
an interactive session with the state
indigenes resident in that country.
He added that in line with his
economic diversification efforts
in addition to agriculture, the
government was also developing
other sectors in which it has
comparative advantages such
as the solid minerals, tourism,
commerce,and industrial sector.
“Since we have made agriculture
the mainstay of the state’s economy,
we took over the Agricultural
Services and Training Centre, ASTC,
which was moribund when we
assumed office. ASTC is restructuring
and tailoring it towards achieving
our goals of economic diversification
for prosperity”.
This is deliberate and strategic,
especially against the backdrop of
the huge funds of the state already
initially committed to the project
and also its potentials to boost the
state’s economy via agriculture, the
governor said.
Lalong said that his target was also
to make Plateau State Nigeria’s leading
state in rice, Irish Potatoes, tomatoes
and strawberry production, satisfying
both local consumption and export,
and noted that all efforts to this end
had been put in place, especially via
Public-Private-Partnership.
“To this end, we have promptly
paid almost all our agricultural
counterpart fund obligations with
our development partners; two giant
fertilizer blending plants in Bokkos
and Barkin Ladi LGs are being turned
around, and a cassava processing plant
established in Langtang South LG. For
the same reason, my administration
has negotiated for the re acquisition
of BARC Farms, a large-scale state
government-owned farmland that was
sold to an individual by a previous
administration,” he said.
Also recently, to boost it’s Internally
Generated Revenue, the State
government recently launched a Tax
Payment Facilitating Codes known as
Un-Structured Supplementary Data
(USSSD).
The Commissioner of Finance, Mrs
Tamwakat Weli, who launched the
USSD Codes at the premises of the
Plateau State Internal Revenue Service
(PSIRS), described the innovation as
“very unique” and “revenue driven.’’
In her words “The new USSD Code is
a revolutionary innovation and the first
of its kind in Nigeria, which will go a
long way in setting the pace for other
states in Nigeria. Since the inception of
the Governor Simon Lalong-led Change
Administration, the government has
continued to make concerted efforts
to ensure that it boosts the Internally
Generated Revenue of the State to
enable it adequately fund its people
oriented programmes and bring the
much needed development to the State
and its people,’’ she explained. Weli further stated
that with the new
technology, the tax
payer only needs to
click a button on his or
her phone and would
be able to verify his/
her Tax Identification
Number (TIN), verify
the validity of their
vehicles’ papers and
when next to validate
them among others.
According to her,
“this new innovation
is poised to ensure that
tax administration in
Plateau State is carried
out seamlessly while
improving the existing
friendly interface
between taxpayers
and the tax authority.
“Plateau State has
once again set the pace
for others to follow with the launch of
the USSD Code which will ensure ease
of doing business on the Plateau’’, Weli
stated.
The commissioner used the
occasion to call on all Plateau citizens,
particular tax payers to “support this
administration as it sets out to achieve
its five-point policy thrust and sustain
the peace and development being
witnessed in the State.’’
Also speaking, Mr Dashe Arlat, the
PSIRS acting chairman, said the launch
of the “historical USSD CODE’’ was
aimed at blocking revenue leakages and
stimulating the progressive increase of
the state’s IGR as well as growth and
development. The code will also assist
at addressing the conflicts that usually
arise among road users and authorities
such as the Federal Road Safety Corps
(FRSC, VIOs and the Police among
others,’’ Arlat explained.
Some stakeholders who graced the
occasion included the governor’s
Special Adviser (SA) on Finance
and Investment; Mr Patrick Dariem,
State Accountant General (AG)), Mr
Cyril Tsenyil; Permanent Secretary Security, Mr Cornelius Shawbiyal
and representatives from the Police,
FRSC, VIO among others.
Pius Hoomen, a citizen of Plateau
state who spoke to our correspondent
praised Governor Lalong for
diversifying the economy of Plateau
in order to boost the internally
generated revenue of the state.
“I must commend the state
government for doing everything
possible to revamp the agriculture
and toursim sectors which Plateau is
known for over the years. Plateau is
the home of tourism and this would
attract investors and boost the IGR”,
he said.
The state government had recently
said it is willing to partner any
investor or group of investors who
would take advantage of the state’s
tourism potential and invest in the
sector. To this end, the governor said
the government would not hesitate to
provide the enabling environment for
such investor or investors, especially
with the return of peace to the state.
The governor who spoke in Jos
at the unveiling of ‘Jos Chillin’, a
campaign to woo willing investors
to the state, said he intended to make
the development of the tourism sector
private-sector driven, while the
government would provide all the
incentives and infrastructure needed
to drive the industry to thrive.
Lalong who was represented by
his deputy, Prof. Sonnie Tyoden,
said the state was endowed with
enormous tourism potential willing
to be tapped. Speaking earlier, the
managing director of Buckwyld
Media, the event’s promoter, Mr. Efe
Omorogbe, said Jos Chillin was a
series of media campaigns born out of
the realisation that the state needed a
new direction in the promotion of its
tourism potentials.
He added that the campaign was
simply a way to remind the people
of the state and indeed Nigerians
and the world at large how beautiful
Plateau was; that in the past
notable professionals in sports and
entertainment cut their teeth in Jos.
Our correspondent gathered that
the campaign, which would involve
series of activities like workshops,
schools and local government
challenge, entertainment, beauty
pageant and talent hunt shows,
is being coordinated by an
entertainment and events centre,
MEES Palace.
A citizen of the state, Alhaji
Nagelu Garba also praised the
state government for their efforts at
boosting the IGR of the state despite
the recession stressing that Plateau is
determined to get out of the recession.
He also praised the government for
restoring peace to the state.


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