Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) has declared that henceforth all obituary and marriage banners as well as all manner of posters not accredited by the agency will be prosecuted in the court of law.
The agency noted with utmost dismay the indiscriminate and uncultured manner of pasting announcements at various locations across the state without due processes from the agency.
Managing Director of the state signage and advertisement agency, Sir Jude Emecheta, said it was most pathetic and worrisome the way people by-passed the agency to erect signage without due remittance to the state coffers.
Emecheta who spoke with our correspondent in Awka yesterday concerning the agency’s 2019 strategic goals, maintained that the state government has lost over N300 million to revenue defaulters in the state stressing that the agency was poised to recover all debts owed the state government through court processes.
He said that the agency has tried to partner local authorities like the President-Generals as it concerns obituaries and marriages but expressed worry that the local authorities were not forthcoming as many thought the state government has opened a revenue source for them to enrich themselves.
According to him, the agency has obtained court order to prosecute about 300 persons from Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka over tax default. He however made case for revenue courts to be operational in the state to enable the agency to intensify its revenue drive for the state government through the revenue courts.
Emecheta who disclosed that the signage and advertisement agency projected about N500 million as its 2019 target, expressed confidence that the agency might surpass the projection for this year should everything go according to plan, pointing out that government required financial resources to execute its developmental programmes.
The ANSAA boss recalled that electioneering activities of last year really affected revenue drive as most politicians were reluctant to make remittances to the agency because they were not sure if the pendulum would swing in their directions. He further disclosed that politicians and some other individuals who declined paying taxes during the elections would be compelled to pay or face prosecution.
He maintained that the major challenge facing the agency at the moment was to get officials of the agency re-orientated as well as instill discipline and civility in them to aid them in the discharge of their duties and obligations.
He said they were re-engineering to open up more revenue windows and wider scope for the state government to source revenue for its projects just as he said also that the state government would not rely on federal allocations but on its Internally Generated Revenue.
Emecheta said the agency was planning a workshop for its workers on best practices on revenue collection and that the agency was developing more areas to source funds for the state government while urging the people to make their payments in the banks and desist from cash transactions with anybody.