Tackling the Menace of Black Tax Collectors in Kogi: KGIRS to the Rescue.

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,,,,More Rivers to Cross

By Dada Ahmed.

Alhaji Sule Salihu Enehe, the Executive Chairman, KGIRS, addressing the gathering at the occasion.

The 2024 edition of interactive session organized by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) in Lokoja has come and gone, leaving the management with a sense of fulfillment in enlightening taxpayers on the importance of paying taxes through legally approved channels.

The event has as theme:”Continuous Engagement For Effective Tax Administration.”

The one day occasion highlighted the efforts of KGIRS to boost the state’s revenue profile of the state and a golden opportunity to members of the audience to response to the efforts of the revenue organization with constructive criticism and suggestions on the way forward in ensuring successful tax administration in kogi.

However ,a significant issue discussed during the event was the activities of illegal tax collectors, otherwise known as “black tax collectors,” and the urgent need to eliminate them, for KGIRS to achieve its goals and objectives in ensuring successful tax administration in the state.

Artificial Intelligence language model experts describe “black tax collectors” as individuals or groups who illegally collect taxes or extort money from businesses and individuals under the guise of legitimate taxation. Their activities are unauthorized and conducted outside the framework of the official tax system.

These black tax collectors typically operate through intimidation, threats, and violence, creating a parallel and corrupt system of tax collection that undermines the legitimate government tax infrastructure.
They often collect taxes or fees without any legal authority or government mandate and operate in areas where government oversight is weak or absent. Using threats, intimidation, and sometimes physical violence, they extort money from businesses and individuals, creating an environment of fear and insecurity among the local population.

Black tax collectors are known for impersonating legitimate tax officials to deceive their victims. They use fraudulent documents and claims to justify their demands, exploiting the lack of awareness and understanding of legitimate tax processes among the public. Given their characteristics, the impact of black tax collectors on the revenue collection process is profound.

Economically, black tax collectors increase the financial burden on businesses and individuals, reducing disposable income and profitability, and discouraging investment and economic activity in affected areas. Their activities lead to a significant loss of government revenue, which affects public services and infrastructure development. Socially, they erode trust in government and law enforcement institutions by creating a culture of fear and corruption, undermining social cohesion, and diverting resources away from productive uses, contributing to poverty and economic stagnation.

Reflecting on this vexing issue, the Executive Chairman of KGIRS, Alhaji Sule Salihu Enehe, urged taxpayers not only to shun these black tax collectors but also to report them to the appropriate security agencies to face justice and deter others. He emphasized that KGIRS is actively addressing the problem, including introducing technology and digitalizing revenue collection. The Service has facilitated the arrest of 41 black tax collectors in the state who are now facing justice in court.

A financial management expert, Moses Isezuo, asserts that KGIRS must adopt a comprehensive approach involving legal, social, and technological measures to tackle the issue effectively. He believes that enhanced efforts will boost Kogi State’s economic stability, improve governance, and foster a more secure and prosperous environment for its residents.

AI experts stress the need for strengthening legal frameworks by enacting and enforcing laws specifically targeting illegal tax collection and extortion, ensuring stringent penalties for offenders. They also call for effective enhancement of law enforcement agencies through training and equipping them to identify and prosecute black tax collectors, increasing surveillance and intelligence-gathering efforts to dismantle illegal tax networks.

Community involvement and sensitization are crucial for the public to be aware of illegal activities. By educating the public about their rights and proper tax payment channels, KGIRS can encourage communities to report illegal activities to authorities and build trust between the community and law enforcement.

Inter-agency collaboration is also essential to create a unified front against black tax collection, engaging businesses and industry groups in the fight. Developing partnerships with private sector organizations to promote compliance and report illegal activities, creating incentives for businesses to support government efforts, and increasing the implementation of digital tax payment systems to reduce cash transactions and increase transparency are other critical measures. The use of technology to track and monitor tax collections will make it harder for illegal collectors to operate.

KGIRS should also strengthen partnerships with media outlets to spread awareness and encourage community participation to combat black tax collectors effectively.

The hope of most of the critical Stakeholders in tax administration that attended the occasion is that prompt attention to these suggestions diligently will ensure that the fight against black tax collectors in Kogi State is won sooner rather than later.

Taxpayers will get value for their civic responsibility to the state and benefit maximally from the dividends of democracy.

Dada Ahmed publishes The Reporters.

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