States’ Viability Index and IGR Generation
By Ibrahim Shehu Yahaya
States, at all times, are supposed to be effective in delivering quality environment and means of livelihood to their citizens. People come together to create communities, even as they equally pool resources to cater for these needs, whatever that may entail.
These resources may be goods, services, and/or natural resources that abound in the locale, which they may use or sell to others to get value that can be used to provide the aforementioned needs.
It may even be value/resource/money that they gather at fixed rates or using whatever convenient parameter to get what is needed to provide for the need.
This collective agreement is what binds people and the fact that each, somehow, contribute to the overall kitty gives the individual the right to choose leadership and to question how the leadership conduct affairs as they affect the said individual.
This is believed to be the basis of democracy. However, when the individual and/or the collective society do not know how the contribution to the kitty is being used in providing what is needed or where the contribution is, in effect, done not willingly, then you may have a failed leadership of tyranny or dictatorship or enslavement.
This condition ensure that the state/leadership, which is not answerable to the people will refuse to provide the basic necessities that are direly needed for the wellbeing of the people.
Thus, ignorance and poverty will become endemic, which will bring forth crime and anarchy.
Therefore, to sustain the community/state/nation, the people must be aware or made aware of this need and for them to contribute to the kitty so that they can elect/select the leadership they can hold accountable.
The stratification, enumeration and definitive identification of the citizens of any locality is directly proportional to the amount being put in the kitty.
For this to happen and be effective, then, there’s a need to know each and every one in that community/state/nation, by creating a database that will give a face, job and location to a name.
This data forms the foundation for all endeavors of the community, without it you cannot plan, execute, secure, and develop etc. the society. Most, if not all, ills of the society could be mitigated when there is a database of the people that make up that community.
Getting the database is not a herculean task once little native intelligence is involved with the full cooperation of the leadership and the community. The most important part is the understanding of the people on the need and their cooperation, thus the bulk of the work is then done.
The leadership has to create a plan and platform for obtaining the data and here is where that little ingenuity will be needed because of our societal issues and cost. Once this is achieved, and it is achievable, then the process of generation of revenue is nearly complete.
It should be mentioned that whatever policy, action or activity that is needed to be done in any community, it needs to be ‘localized ‘first. ‘Localisation’ here means that it should be modified to fit our societal needs and peculiarities.
Most programs fail because they aren’t localised to fit it with our culture, traditions and our philosophy to life and living. This is needed for the ‘ingenuity ‘to work, rules and regulations should take into consideration along with these factors.
Whilst the database is being obtained, institutions that are saddled with revenue collection should be strengthened because the bane of development is the personilisation of leadership instead of institutions. Equally too is the need to create ‘guilds’ or formal organizations/unions for all trade.
This is consequent to the fact that most of our economic activities lies with the informal sector. Therefore they would be collated under identifiable sectors and organizations for ease of reference and access. These unions will form the basis for formal relationship between the leadership and the community, the little part of the community that will be left after this project will either be already part of the formal sector or the unemployed who can then be categorised and captured under a separate agency like the ‘Labour office’ of before.
Then all places of business or economic activities should be noted and codified, just like all houses have numbers these too can be captured in a database. The codification of business sites will link direct location with individual citizens.
This has a multiplier effect on the collection of rates and taxes on citizens and the domiciles of business as now buildings too could be properly categorized as residential, commercial or mixed use with attendant appropriate rate of tax applied. When these activities are concluded then it’s possible to cross match individuals with addresses and economic activities.
There you have your taxable community which will come together to pool resources for their benefit. But it should be mentioned that this community will now have the power to ask questions and mete out ‘punishment ‘at the ballot box of democracy.
The absence of taxation, to a very large extent, is the root cause of widespread corruption in whatever form.
Because accountability starts when the individual feels the pinch of irresponsibility and recklessness of the leadership in his pocket, taxation gives the impetus to the community to react.
The institutions to be saddled with this responsibility of the collation of the database and the administration of taxation laws will be the reformed emirate council, the ministry of trade and commerce, bureau of statistics and the board of internal revenue services.
The emirate council being closest to the people will need to be properly reformed to match the needs of the 21st century governance. The reformation needs and process will be a subject to be discussed in a different paper. They will be actively involved in the process of data acquisition and verification.
The Ministry of Trade and Commerce will be the custodian of the registration of different trade organizations, the formal sector and the unemployed while the bureau of statistics will be the custodian of the database.
The cross matching of data collated can be used as the foundation of a government which is the way to go to reduce bureaucracy, public officials’ lethargy and corruption just like the Orissa state did in India wit fantastic results. This should be the way to go for most third world states.
There are a lot of agencies and businesses that should pay their taxes like PAYE to the government but are not doing so. There are other taxes that are not properly collected by the government like business premises permit, tenement rates, property taxes, vehicle taxes including change of ownership, renewals of licenses etc. which could be easily done once there’s the database.