Mr Okon Okon, Akirs And The Rest Of Us
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. He had this to say about tax;
"Taxes, are the dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society."
Not many quotes are ever written in favour of taxes nor the tax collectors but the case seem to be different with the Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Services ably led by Mr Okon Okon, an organized leader of a smart working team.
Pundits are of the opinion that their motto which reads " _for the Public good_ " and the deliberate effort of the Governor Udom Emmanuel led administration to judiciously give value to tax payers money in terms of feasible dividends of democracy has made the job of AKIRS a piece of cake.
15th January 2021 had representatives of the fourth Estate on the usual ritual of asking hard questions for clarification from the lovable Chief tax collector of the State; Mr Okon Okon who in his unquestionable humility always had ready and genuine answers for the conscience of the society.
In his opening remark at the 2021 Strategy session with the theme: STRATEGIES AND STRATEGIC FOCUS FOR SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN IGR IN 2021 held on 15th January; Mr Okon Okon, noted that 2020 still lingers as the toughest year of the board since their tenure, yet thanking God for unusual grace to meet the past year target overwhelmed the session, for to them it could only have been God who made it possible amidst the pandemic and tax rebate borne out of the magnanimity and sensitivity of our dear Governor Udom Emmanuel.
In his words "Despite the storms, the frightening headwinds, other challenges and the generous tax relief magnanimously granted by the State Governor, His Excellency,. Mr Udom Emmanuel to cushion the adverse economic impact of Covid-19, the Board was still able to surpass it's revised 2020 IGR target. With humility and gratitude to God, we stayed above board in our deliverables and general expectations."
Not a few are left in awe of such fetes, despite the uncertainties of the ravaging Covid year. Such results speaks volume of the quality of members on the board and The Chief Executive. Leaders who think outside the box in times of crisis are worth a second look.
To Mr Okon Okon and the whole tax family of AKIRS, 2021 is meeting them well prepared for the Public good business as they seek the usual cooperation of tax payers. One could literally touch the excitement to deliver as there is an upgrade of AKIRS strategy for an holistic Service delivery;
"This year, we are stepping up to version 2.0 of our corporate transformation agenda named Revenue and Institutional Transformation Agenda (REVITA version 2.0).
Essentially, this agenda will drive our business focus and behavior for 2021 which seem to be already encumbered by the second wave of COVID-19 and it's attendant adversities.
On a brighter side, with the approval of the implementation of the full autonomy of AKIRS effective January 1,2021 by His Excellency, the Governor, a new paradigm is defined for us."
There is a school of thought that postulates that AKIRS is loved, admired and applauded mostly due to the cooperation of the media in state building, little wonder Pastor Michael Bush SA to the Governor on Electronic media could not help but wonder aloud "How" AKIRS under Mr Okon Okon does it that the media which that has no friends nor enemies have sang his praise for the past years till date. The short story can be summarised by the sincerity of purpose and uncompelled yearly briefing by AKIRS to be held accountable willingly. If Mr Okon Okon led AKIRS was shrouded in secrecy, the media would have told us.
The session did hit crescendo with the commitment of the Chief Tax man to do more for Akwa Ibom people with his Team;
"AKIRS has a challenging but statutory responsibility of funding the public finance needs of the State Government. We have determined to rise to that responsibility with huge sense of diligence, duty and patriotism."
When a Team produces results, the best we can do for them is to say well done and encourage them to do more. With the numerous construction work ongoing in the State, it's obvious that apart from Federal allocation our Internally generated revenue has impacted the system to deliver with reasonable ease.
As responsible Citizens and Cooperate entities within the State it's incumbent on us to do our part so we can demand from government value for taxes paid.
Pay your taxes today, it's for the public good, our good
Micheal Joseph Okon writes from Ituk Mbang International community.