Fashola Vows To Enforce Tax Compliance

Gov. Raji Fashola

Gov. Raji Fashola

In a move aimed at creating a platform for interaction and getting useful feedback for planning with a view to reducing the cost and time of doing business in Lagos while generally creating a conducive atmosphere for investors, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday hosted the inaugural Lagos State Government Corporate Assembly with captains of Industry and members of the Organised Private Sector.

Gov. Raji Fashola

The interactive session which was held the Lagos House, Marina was also an opportunity for Lagos State to affirm its readiness to commence enforcement of tax collection laws through prosecution and other legal means after embarking on five years of advocacy.

The representatives of the business community in their various contributions commended the cleanliness of Lagos State, the security and high level of infrastructural development that has been going on in Lagos since the advent of this administration.

The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Goodie Ibru said the business community is delighted about the achievements recorded by the Babatunde Fashola (SAN) led administration in terms of infrastructural development, roads construction, traffic management and Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Also speaking, the Vice President of the National Chambers for Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture(NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson commended the cleanliness of the State, stating that by going round Lagos State, she discovered that it has become very clean which is very commendable.

Governor Fashola gave credit for the improved clean state of Lagos to the 70,000 street sweepers and all those who saw the opportunity in the challenge posed by mountains of waste by investing in compactor trucks and other allied equipments as Private Sector Participant operators.

The State Governor said the turnaround in the state of affairs in terms of waste disposal shows the indomitable spirit of Lagos which sees an opportunity in every challenge and also gave credit for all the achievements recorded by his administration to public servants and members of his team.

The Governor who also spoke on efforts by his administration to address the issue of infrastructural deficit said the decision was a deliberate one to strike a lethal blow at poverty.

He said by building roads, schools, hospitals, water channels and so many more, several businesses will come back on board while giving opportunity to accounting firms, engineering and consulting forms to be in business.

Governor Fashola said at the last count a major construction company in Lagos had employed about 15,000 people while another one had employed 4000 people in order to meet the construction demands of Lagos State. He reiterated that through construction, banks have financed many of the construction projects, just as many of the companies providing construction allied services like manufacturing of iron rods are flourishing in business.

The Governor said all these would not have been possible if the State had not provided a secured environment by building security, law and order, and urged all the members of the Organised Private Sector who have partnered with the State Government to continue to secure the State not to relent, while urging all those who have not done so, to join the good cause.

He said it seems the members of the OPS have left the job of supporting the Lagos State Security Trust Fund to banks, adding that this should not be the case as no amount is too little to support the fund with.

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Governor Fashola added that the administration is also committed to providing rail transport because it is indeed a miracle the roads in Lagos are still motorable despite the volume of goods that passes through the roads.

The Governor stated that if the State Government gets the desired feedback from the Private sector, it will guide it on how to expand the opportunities available for businessmen.

In the last four years, rice cultivation has improved from 50 hectares to 250hectares just as the state has built a rice mill to process the rice that is grown there, stating that the target is to reach 500 hectares at the minimum.

He added that government has converted the 23 hectares Imota rice mill into an agro allied industrial cluster that will be provided with power, road and water and drainages before moving out for the interested industries to step in.

He said in terms of funding the government has been having deficit budget because if it had limited itself to what it earned, it would be very difficult to meet up with the resources required to sustain the level of infrastructural development in the State, adding that this administration has however borrowed sensibly.

“Some think it is an anathema to borrow but I think very sensible borrowing helps the economy than you can imagine. if you imagine that we were spending only what we earn maybe many banks would be out of business today. This is because many banks earn a lot from the loan transactions that they have with governments and that helps to keep many of our children in employment in the financial institutions”, the Governor explained.

He urged every productively engaged person to declare their income, stating that while Lagos has a population of eight million active people only 2.7million of that number pay taxes that supports the population of 20 million people.

Governor Fashola who also responded to various questions ranging from issues of creating more industrial parks to fast tracking the process of land acquisition for small scale enterprises, , collection wharf landing rates and streamlining the operation of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) with National Agency For Foods Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC) said in terms of challenges being faced by SMEs, the question to be asked is if the SMEs are doing business in the right way.

He said there have been instances of some small scale business outfits doing businesses in private residential areas and some not providing adequate documents which would have aided the timely treatment of land documents.

Governor Fashola who also spoke on suggestions that maybe a single revenue ticket that would be acceptable by all level of government nationwide should be fashioned out based on an agreement from the Governors Forum, said he would take the issue up by sending a memo to that effect to the Governors Forum and the National Economic Council towards eliminating the issue of collection of multiple levies from vehicles of business organizations nationwide.

He said citizens should be more actively engaged in going- ons in the state, adding that the administration has put the names and contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all officials at the state Local Government and Legislature in the public domain. On calls for the taking over of the reconstruction of the Airport Road, the Governor said the road is classified as a federal road and that the State government has not been encouraged by the Federal Government as it has spent close to N51Billion without any restitution by the Federal Government.

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