Kano and Kaduna states governments have deployed technology to generate revenues with a view to boosting their economies.
While Kano leverages on Point of Sales (POS) device to drive the initiative, Kaduna uses camera and other electronic devises to achieve the onerous task, Daily Trust reports.
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Collection of taxes and levies by government agencies to boost revenue is commonly believed to be fraught with fraudulent activities by personnel.
Reports have had it that some of the tax collector corruptibly arm themselves with fake tickets which they issue to tax payers instead of government official tickets and pocket public funds. Others, too, extort money from the levy payers.
Piqued by the untoward practice, Kano and Kaduna State governments have started deploying technology to generate revenues.
In Kano, tricycle operators who are about 70,000 and operate with painted Adaidaita Sahu, now make their daily tax payments through POS device. They have expressed delight that their taxes now get to the appropriate quarters instead of private pockets.
The initiative, our correspondent gathered, was an aftermath of the protest by tricycle riders against over N100 daily levy imposed by the Kano State Roads and Traffic Agency (KAROTA).
One of the operators, Aliyu Garba, said the adoption of technology for the collection of the levy had been long overdue. He expressed readiness to pay every day because it has helped to reduce extortion by KAROTA personnel.
“I am happy because Kano State Government has now introduced a new way of stopping KAROTA personnel from extorting money from us in the name of revenue generation,” he said.
Another operator, Abashe Musa, said: “Now, we know it is the state government that collects the money, not KAROTA officials. Everyone knows how KAROTA officials have been selling fake tickets to us,” he said.
However, Tukur Anas said the use of technology was a waste of time and another way of extorting money from tricycle operators, especially as defaulters are heavily fined, whether or not they a genuine reason.
“We are trying to survive with the tricycle business. But government is always introducing new things to stop our business and make us unemployed.
“Most of us are youths and rely on this business to support ourselves and our families. Many of us have lost our jobs and got stranded because of the way the KAROTA personnel used to extort money from us,” he said.
Our correspondent however gathered that despite the introduction of POS, some operators default but pay sanction of N1,000 when apprehended. The Managing Director of KAROTA, Baffa Babba Dan Agundi, said:
“The job of KAROTA is just to enforce the law and we are working with the State Board of Internal Revenue. Advancement of technology is a new development.
“That is why we are now using the technological device to help in reducing corruption in the process.”
Efforts to get a reaction from the Kano State Internal Revenue Service were to no avail as its spokesman said he was not in Kano.
The Head of Public Affairs Department, Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Agency (KASTLEA), Joy George Zemo, said technology had made the agency’s job to boost the state’s revenue generation profile easy.
Even though some of the technologies are not fully in use as most of them are being test run, she said communication had been made easy for the marshals using the devices.
Zemo said the state had an electronic enforcement that uses camera to capture vehicles with valid papers which is also at a test stage.
“Apart from that, there are other enforcements carried out electronically for ticketing, booking and for receipt using hand devices at the point of enforcement to book offenders and issue receipts to them after payment,” she said.
According to her, payment is usually done through devices provided by the State Revenue Service.
There are also walking talking, another hand device, used for communication by the marshals with their colleagues in other zones at the point of enforcement.
Zemo added that there was also mobile radio installed in their operational vehicles to make communication with other zones easy.
She also explained that testing and inspection centres were provided in Kawo and Kakuri areas of the metropolis even though they had not been fully launched but they are being used to test emissions from vehicles determine whether the they are dangerous to the environment and public health.
“The testing and inspection centres use computers to test vehicle alignment and brakes, lowness and highness of light, including the tyres.
“After the testing, a result is printed out of the computer to determine the fine for the vehicle that failed the testing,” she added.
She also disclosed that there were devices that the agency had not fully put them to use, especially those that are supposed to provide full data of vehicles that violate traffic lights.
She said the devices had boosted the state revenue generation profile. “Yes, the devices have really helped because when we started at the point of arrest, you had to go to the bank and queue to make payment.
“But now, Kaduna Revenue service has supported us with agents at the zones and you pay and receive your receipt and go your way,” she said.
Zemo said the testing centres also help to check the health conditions of the vehicles. She added that currently, communication was easier among marshals because of the effectiveness of the gadgets.
A car owner who was arrested by marshals recently for violating traffic lights told Daily Trust Saturday that she paid N10,000 as fine.
She recalled that before she paid the fine, the marshals had to show her the devices that recorded her when she flagrantly disobeyed the traffic rule.