Mr Akinyele Oladeji is the Managing Consultant, Canadian Software Development Corporation (CSDC). The company is the consultancy firm for revenue and ICT in Ondo State.
In this interview with KAYODE CROWN in the company’s office in Akure, he explores various issues surrounding internally revenue generation (IGR) and how the company plans to improve the revenue profile of the State to wean her from over dependence on the federal allocation which has dwindled to pittance.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Akinyele Oladeji, Managing Consultant (CSDC) Canadian Software Development Corporation and also global revenue consultant for operations as well as ICT in Ondo State.
We are in charge of coordinating all processes of government, not just internal revenue services, with the view to bringing in efficiency of IGR, increasing efficiency of civil servants, also fostering better service delivery as much as possible in Ondo State. In short, complementing human efforts with technology, such that people will work smart and not just work for working sake.
We focus on PPT, meaning People, Process and Technology.
We don’t try to force what is done somewhere else, maybe South Africa or elsewhere, on people.
We first learn the local process then we now upgrade that particular process so that there won’t be a system shock.
PPT is to get the people, then processes right and apply technology.
The resultant effect is always efficiency of staff, better service delivery and then increase in productivity.
The scope of your mandate is so wide, give us your background
Academically, I read Economics for my first degree then I read Law, I have an MBA.
Professionally, I am a fellow, Institute of Taxation in Nigeria (FITN) also Fellow, Society of Economics.
I was in the Lagos State Service and I retired in 2007.
Since then, I have been a Consultant to state governments as well as the Federal Government.
I represent a firm called CSDC, I am the Managing Consultant of the West Africa Operation.
CDSC is a global company that is into automation of government processes.
We have over 420 governments and government agencies as customers around the world.
We are in 30 states in North America, we are in the United Kingdom, India, Caribbean.
In Africa we are already in some West African countries.
We are already in Ivory Coast, we have spoken to the government there, also Sierra Leone, in Nigeria as well.
We have very high profile clients, all of which are government agencies, because we don’t do anything private.
We have as our clients, Kwara State government, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Kogi State government. Now we are in Ondo State.
What do you think Ondo State will benefit at the end of the day from your service? Do you see the state meeting up to the level of the First World countries?
His Excellency, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has shown character and the few administrations that has taken the steps he has taken have seen the result.
It’s what you have internally that you can plan with and His Excellency, in his beginning of his administration, without fear or favour for anybody conducted a very rigorous interview to bring on board a consultant.
We just pray that by the grace of God, we would not destroy the trust he has reposed in us.
Based on your vast experience in different parts of the world, what do you think is the major road block in increasing IGR?
Let’s go back to the origin of society itself. Then everything was jungle justice and individuals decided to submit their sovereignties to constituted authorities.
And you demonstrate your submission to that government in the payment of taxes for it to regulate your affairs and they reciprocate with production of infrastructure.
So if government understands this and the citizens understand this also, we would know that unless you want to go back to the past, then it is our responsibility to pay tax and government will now reciprocate in terms of provision of services.
My point is that if we don’t pay as citizens, then we have no right to be in that society.
Government has a role to play in regulating things like motor licensing.
We want to know who owns which vehicle such that Mr A will not ordinarily take what belongs to Mr B and that’s a government service.
Also as it is the case in every society, when it comes to the use of land, the government has a role to play.
You may sell a portion of your land as covered by delineation. So government provides land services to oil commerce, to oil subsequent land transactions.
Also security, if people say that the government is not doing anything and they withhold taxes, should the government withdraw the police due to non payment of taxes?
Also should government stop road construction? How then do we get agricultural produce? Or should the government say there is no more education because people are not paying taxes?
Taxes are what we pay. It is the law. You pay without expectations, it is just that it is the moral duty of government to offer the above services.
The government tries to discharge its obligation and tell you that this is what we are doing.
Also look at UK and USA that even pay for taxes for street lights, the TV and other things.
We don’t pay those in Nigeria. We don’t pay our taxes and government doesn’t have enough to render.
But if we pay enough, then we can boldly walk to the government to ask for necessities and you will see improvement.
But that is the matter for the administration but my own job is to generate.
From what you have said, can we conclude that the roadblock is the people’s perception?
You are mostly correct. Why I used the word, “mostly” is that there is also need for education, enlightenment. Some people are not really criminals. They want to pay but they don’t know how to go about it.
The law requires you to prepare an account. What will make it too cumbersome is having to travel to pay it and that is why automation is required to make things easy.
What we are working on is so that you can make your payment online, download your forms at your own convenience and get receipts online.
You will be able to access government services on our portal and you can verify your payment online.
For a certain category of workers, you have the Pay As You Earn, so before money touches your hand, some amount has been deducted.
But for the others, especially the people in the private sector, that is not applicable; so government must find ways to sensitise them to pay.
Under the formal sector, we have semi formal tax and raw formal such as business men, owners of hospitals, schools and small businesses. Everybody must contribute their own quota.