5th March, 2011
Participants at the Sixth Lagos Executive/ Legislative Parley including the Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola ( SAN), his Deputy, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, the Speaker, RT Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji on Friday called on the National Assembly to alter the revenue allocation formula to increase the share of States and Local Councils in the Federation Account.
In a communiquÃ© issued at the end of the parley organized by the Political and Legislative Powers Bureau which had as its theme: â€œGood Governance and Strategic Planningâ€ at Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac, the participants called for an amendment of the Value Added Tax Act to preserve the revenues exclusively for States and Local Governments to enable them cope with increasing challenges of governance at the local level.
It was also resolved by the participants who also included the Deputy Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Senators and members of the Federal House of Representatives from Lagos State, members of the State Executive Council and the representative of the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that though the national tax policy seeks an increase in indirect tax rates and decrease of income tax rates, experience has shown that only the rate reduction can be easily achieved.
â€œIt is always difficult to effect an increase in the rate of VAT or any indirect taxes, irrespective of where the legislative authority lies. The crisis generated by the attempt to increase the Value Added Tax rates via the VAT (Rate of Tax Chargeable) Order 2007 is illustrative of the difficulty that will be encountered if the proposed increase of indirect taxes is attemptedâ€.
The participants posit that the proposed reduction of income tax rates will therefore adversely affect the revenue of the State Government without giving it any opportunity to make up the loss of revenue and that the voice of the State is important as Personal Income Tax revenues belong exclusively to the States, notwithstanding the fact that the National Assembly is the legislative authority.
The communiquÃ© also stressed that States be given an enabling environment to collect all forms of sales and consumption taxes as it is not on the exclusive legislative list and is regarded as residual matters for the State House of Assembly.
At the commencement of the parley, it was observed that there is a need for effective short, medium and long term planning at all levels of Government and that it was important for the State and the Local Government Authorities to pay particular attention to matters of revenue allocation and internally generated revenue, especially in the context of the proposed minimum wage.
The parley also observed that there is urgent need for all members to appreciate implications of the proposed amendment of Personal Income Tax Act for the revenue of all the States of the Federation.
Earlier, while addressing the gathering, Governor Babatunde Fashola(SAN) urged the people of Lagos to decline the sudden love or electoral carrot being dangled at Lagosians by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with few weeks to the general elections.
He said the question Lagos residents should be asking the proponents of the PDP is : where were they since year 2007 and what have they done for Lagos before now that they are professing love for Lagos.
The Governor said now is the time for the people of Lagos to mobilise themselves and use the six million votes recorded during the voters registration exercise to dislodge the PDP from power during the April 2011 elections.
He explained that the PDP has no plan for the people of Nigeria because as at March there is no budget for year 2011 as the PDP-Government at the centre is rather carrying over the year 2010 budget into this year.
The Governor noted that in the year 2011 budget estimate which it presented to the National Assembly, the Federal Government is proposing N70 billion for roads while already it is owing contractors N60Billion, just as it has budgeted N24Billion for water supply but is owing contractors N30 billion already.
Governor Fashola informed that with over 200 dams in the country, 19 of which can generate up to 3000 megawatts of electricity, the PDP through its lack of ideas has not been able to do anything to improve the state of the dams or make use of them to generate electricity.
â€œThe people of Lagos must declare to the leaders of the PDP that they have the strongest stock exchange and strongest currency, if the value system is destroyed everything would perishâ€, Governor Fashola added.
He reiterated that good governance is not a rocket science but about planning which is what has stood the present administration in good stead and made it a model for all other states.
Also speaking, the representative of former Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also the Action Congress of Nigeria Chairman in Lagos, Chief Henry Ajomale described Governor Fashola as the most dynamic Governor in Nigeria.
He urged all the elected representatives of the party at all levels to study and understand the manifesto of the ACN as that will better position them to articulate the position of the party at all times.
He said the Executive Legislative parley has been very instrumental in achieving a mutual understanding in the relationship that exists between the two arms of Government.In his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Legislative Powers, Hon Abdullateef AbdulHakeem said the superiority of ideas with which Governor Fashola leads the State became more evident a few days ago during a debate organised by a private television station in Lagos.
He said only good governance and strategic planning can put a stop to incidences of violence which is becoming rampant on the political scene such as the one witnessed in Niger State some days ago.
A paper titled: â€œLagos State Tax Policyâ€ was delivered by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tax and Revenue, Mr Ade Ipaiye.
The ceremony also had in attendance the National legal Adviser of the Party, Dr Muiz Banire, Chairmen of Local Government Areas and Council Development Areas, and all contestants on the platform of ACN.
The Communique was read by the minority whip in the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila.