Thursday, 17 February 2022

Unlocking Revenue : The Lalong Legacy Of Prosperity By Yakubu Dati

The opening of Domino's Pizza in Jos during the week has trended among the fast-food connoisseurs.

With a Net income of 491.3 million USD (2020) the birthing of this American multinational pizza restaurant chain in Jos, is sure to shake the table, a little bit.

The news heralding the arrival of an ultra modern mall which will house ShopRite in Jos, has been greeted with jubilation. 

According to accountants , the 'book value' of its operations in Nigeria as at 2021 is N25.6 billion.

The attraction of these global players is not by accident but results of deliberate actions. 

Gov Simon Lalong assumed office with the keen ability to envision Plateau State's future and to rally human and material resources around a shared vision

Early in the life of his administration, he inspired confidence following his deft moves in connecting the state to international trade. In quick succession, he acquired the BARC farms, and the Jos Inland Container Dry Port. Furthermore, he successfully lobbied for the completion of the Yakubu Gowon Airport Jos, and its subsequent designation as a Cargo international terminal. To add filip to the stratagem, Lalong's intense lobby paid off with the establishment of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, zonal office in Jos :dedicated to international shipping trade in the country. The approval to reactivate the Jos railway lanes and the dualization of the Abuja/jos/Gombe roads is well secured in Lalong's goodie kit.

Gov Lalong has, no doubt, put in place an engine of local economic development with its value addition of job creation, entrepreneurship and wealth creation. 

The Jos-Plateau is being steadily recalibrated into a central core of commerce with attraction to investors, manufactures, suppliers and distributors. 

There is a connect between the huge potentials and existing realities.

His deliberate policies and programmes as encapsulated in the Plateau State Development Strategy developed by the Boston Consulting Group(BCG) attracted many investors by its sheer clarity and achievable road-map.

With over six years of peace, the beautiful Plateau we projected is being achieved.

Those that locked their business premises and ran away from Plateau in those days are now working their phones making enquiries about staging comebacks.

As confirmation of the growing confidence on the Lalong administration, many private businesses have sprung up, while companies and government agencies are jostling for Jos as a prime venue for conferences and retreats.

Transport companies are experiencing a period of boom due to the desire by many to come to Plateau.

Investments in the creatives and sports industry is yielding high Returns on Investments (ROI) ditto Minning and Agriculture. 

Aware of this, Governor Lalong has opened the state for critical infrastructure development by rebuilding roads and bridges.

In the Lands, Survey and Town Planning Ministry, Gov Lalong has simplified land administration through automation and the 50 percent waiver on title processing to empower the populace to key into land capital, in line with the greater Jos Masterplan. Furthermore, the Enumeration exercise,powered by the World Bank is the process of registering over a hundred thousand properties under the SFTAS pilot project 

In a pioneering effort to unlock the revenue potentials, the State is benefiting from a strategic partnership with Compliance Professionals (CPP) led by the cerebral Mrs Ifeako Okauru, ex FIRS boss, whose track record at turning around the nation's internal revenue reverberates to this day.

As Chairman of the Revenue Council established to harvest low hanging revenue lines, Gov Lalong's alliance with CPP is redesigning the economic landscape, towards laying a sustainable foundation for financial self sufficiency, in line with the global trends.

Lalong continues to match words with action by creating opportunities for youths through new streams of digital skills up program and software engineering under the #codePlateau project propelled by ICT agency of the state.

The Performance Management and Results Delivery Office (PMRDO) has been structured into governance architecture to provide the requisite layer of transparency, in fiscal accountability. 

The Governor's office has transformed into a 'melting pot', of ideas, energised with enviable technical capacity to raise government revenue and to lower expenditure. The introduction of the Revenue-League, fashioned after the National Footbal league, is promoting healthy competition amongst Ministries, Departments and Agencies for improved revenue.

The PSIRS, the State’s revenue ombudsman is championing process of integration and harmonising revenues from all revenue generating points, with a view to blocking leakages, addressing multiple taxation and growing the state’s revenue base.

The overall objective is to develop the capacity of the state to fund its budget solely, through the Internally Generated Revenues.

Bequeathing a robust revenue base for the next generation and generations yet unborn, remains a lasting legacy for Plateau's amiable governor, Simon Bako Lalong.

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