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‘It’s not time for new taxes’ — budget office DG advises Lagos govt

Ben Akabueze, director-general of the budget office of the federation, says the Lagos state government must resist introducing new taxes to meet revenue target.

In 2020, the state had announced five per cent tax introduced by the state film and video censors board — although it was recalled — and a 10 per cent service tax on each transaction paid by passengers of ride-sharing companies.

Speaking at the 2021 Lagos ‘Ehingbeti’ Economic Summit on Wednesday, Akabueze said Lagosians, like other Nigerians, are still trying to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

He said the economy was affected, thereby impacting negatively on the livelihood of Nigerians.

The budget office DG said the state should seek other ways of generating revenue by focusing on its goals and taking measurably steps to accomplish them.

“This is not a time for new taxes. There is only room to improve tax administration. I know that we keep pushing to get everyone in the tax net,” he said.

“I know that there was a time in Lagos, by estimates there were about 3.5 million people still not in the tax net, who could have been contributing no matter how little.

“In terms of expanding IGR, one thing that needs to change is focus. I don’t know if this still happens but in the eight years tenure of Fashola as governor, we used to have a monthly forum called the monthly revenue stakeholders meeting which he presided over personally. And anybody who had a part to play was gathered into the room. You wouldn’t want to come month after month to give reasons why you did not meet your revenue target.

“The other thing is measurement. That’s where the commissioner for economic planning and budget and his team must roll up their sleeves. It is certainly hard work. Expanding IGR is a hard work which takes consistent efforts.”

Akabueze added that Nigerians will comply with tax payment if they feel good about their environment.

 

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