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Lagos infrastructural renewal threatened on back of tax default

The Lagos government said on Monday that its infrastructural renewal drive could be threatened by inadequate funding arising from poor rate of tax payment by taxation persons and business organisations.

The state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had recently decried that only 600,000 Lagosians were up to date in tax payment.

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The population of Lagos is estimated at 21 million people out of whom about 10 million are said to be taxable. The state in the last one decade has relied more on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and loans to fund its annual budgets unlike most of the Nigeria’s 36 states which depend on allocations from the federation account. Lagos currently earns about N300 billion annually from IGR, making it the richest state in the country.

Meanwhile, the state government has directed its relevant agencies to immediately commence comprehensive enforcement against tax defaulters in the state.

Steve Ayorinde, the commissioner for information and strategy, in a statement made available to the media on Monday, decried the unwillingness of taxable persons and organisations to fulfill their civic obligations to the state, saying the situation, if not checked, would adversely affect the infrastructural renewal drive of the state government.

Ayorinde said that government has therefore concluded plans to go all out to enforce the tax laws so as to bring more people into the tax net.

Ayorinde said government remained committed to completing all ongoing projects on schedule, but that it was largely dependent on prompt payment of taxes by residents in the State.

He listed some of the major ongoing projects to include the Oshodi Transport Interchange, reconstruction of the Oshodi International Airport Road, network of roads in Epe to link Ijebu Ode, construction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Lane from Abule Egba to Oshodi as well as the construction of the Pen Cinema flyover.

He said the government has also commenced the construction of over 20 network of roads within the boundaries of Lagos and Ogun States to ease movement and enhance business activities between the two states.

Ayorinde listed the 20 roads to include Ikola Road with Odo Obasanjo Bridge – 6.4km (from Ipaja/Command to Ilo River); Ogunseye Road – 1.75km (from Ajasa/Command to Ikola Road); Oko Filling Road – 1.5km (from AIT to Ilo River); Osenatu Ilo road – 620m (from Ibari Road to Ilo River); Amikanle road – 3.1km (from AIT to Ogunseye Road); Aina Aladi road – 1.9km (from AIT to Ilo River) and Aiyetoro Road with a bridge– 1.4km (from New Market/Ishefun Road intersection to Ilo River).

“These projects have already begun in earnest. The construction of the 181 roads earmarked across the 57 local councils, which is now an annual ritual of this Government will commence anytime soon and many more too numerous to mention.

“The will and commitment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration is to ensure that all these projects are completed before 2019. But the possibility of achieving such will require taxable citizens of the State who have not been paying their taxes to start doing so.

“This administration is grateful to Lagosians who have supported the Government particularly in the discharge of their civic responsibility through payment of taxes. That is the oil that keeps the engine and wheels of government moving smoothly.

“But when there are no resources, these laudable projects would be stalled. No government in the world can achieve its set out objectives without funds and these funds are available largely from what residents pay as taxes. It is therefore expedient that taxes should be paid correctly as at when due”, he said.

He said that some of the major projects that have been completed so far including the Abule Egba and Ajah flyovers, the Aboru Abesan Link Bridge, Ago Palace Way, Ajasa Command Road, network of roads in Ogudu and Epe, construction of the DNA Forensic Centre, among many others, were as a result of the tax payers money which according to him, the state government judiciously utilised to make life more comfortable for the people.

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