The Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, has inaugurated a development tribunal, charged with the responsibility to ensure that the state government collects appropriate taxes and rates on landed properties and corporate businesses in the state.
Bayelsa, like most states in Nigeria, have been experiencing cash crunch due to the global fall in oil prices. There have been delays in the payment of workers’ salaries in the oil-rich state.
The era in which Bayelsa depended on oil was gone, Mr. Dickson said on Thursday, while inaugurating the seven-man Physical Planning and Development Tribunal in Yenagoa.
Mr. Dickson said payment of tax was a moral responsibility for every citizen, and that henceforth tax defaulters would be brought before the tribunal to face the law.
The governor urged citizens who have grievances to approach the tribunal.
“States that have robust internally generated revenue are the ones that take their tax systems seriously,” Mr. Dickson said.
“Bayelsans doing business outside should come in and invest and own properties, because development is a collective responsibility. Those who are building without obtaining the necessary permit must stop forthwith, as every business must be done according to the laid down laws and procedures.”
The governor expressed confidence in the ability of the tribunal members to do their job diligently and in accordance with the law. He warned them not to use arm-twisting tactics in dealing with defaulters.
The chairman of the tribunal is James Lockie. The other members are Selegha Gow, Preye Ineididie, Ngosigha Duobo, Nathaniel Godknows, Stella Raine and Nestor Onyibo.