The Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability has organized a joint sensitization stakeholders’ meeting for farmers cultivating Cocoa crop in Edo State.

Declaring the stakeholders’ meeting open, the Executive Chairman, Edo State Internal Revenue Service, Igbinidu Inneh, represented by the Secretary to the Revenue Service, Efe Iserhienrhien, said the stakeholders’ sensitization meeting became expedient owing to the strategic importance of cocoa farmers to the economic growth of the State and the Country.  He informed that tax is a civic responsibility of an individual involved in any economic activity and earns income from that activity with a fraction subjected to tax.

Efe informed that the meeting was to reassure cocoa farmers of government’s protection against double taxation and the Service’s plan to consolidate all revenue payable by cocoa farmers, into one single payment plan as currently being implemented in the transportation industry via the Revenue Scratch Card payment system.

While urging cocoa farmers to take advantage of the new taxpayers identification number (TIN), file tax returns within the first ninety days annually as enshrined under the Personal Income Tax Act, the EIRS Secretary, emphasized the state government’s ban on the use of non-state actors in revenue collection, noting that the mode of collection still remains cashless through payment into IGR banks accounts and other platforms already in use as introduced by the Service.

In her remarks, the Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Dame Omua Oni-Okpaku who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lucky Wasa, appreciated the cocoa farmers for their continued support of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s  led administration through the payment of their taxes and levies (forest regeneration levy). He assured them of a transparent collection and accounting process and the judicious utilization of taxpayers’ money in the upgrade and provision of infrastructure in areas such as roads, education, health and other social amenities currently being executed by the state government.

The President, Cocoa Farmers in Edo State, Michael Aiyevbomwan reaffirmed farmers’ compliance and commitment to the revenue generation process by the remittances of their personal income tax, regeneration levy and ground rent directly into Edo State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) accounts.

He bemoaned the exploitation of the State’s forest reserve, urging the State government to deal decisively with culprits. Aiyevbomwan solicited for government’s  support in the provision of fertilizers, pesticides and other incentives that can boost cocoa yield.