30th April, 2012
The Lagos State Government has recovered N18.9 billion from tax defaulters in the state in one year and announces 15 percent increase in its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
Chairman, Lagos Inland Revenue Service, Tunde Fowler, disclosed this recently at a news conference to mark the first year of the second term of the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola.
Fowler disclosed that in 2011 alone, the government went after tax defaulters and recovered the amount disclosed, adding that in 2010, the government recovered N20 billion from tax defaulters.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr Bola Shodipo, lamented that only 2.7 million of the 8 million Lagosians who are in gainful employment or productive economic activities were tax compliant.
“The implication of this is that 33. 75 percent of the taxable adults are carrying the burden of the over 20 million population of the state yearly.
“This situation is not only demoralising to those who pay taxes but a display of gross irresponsibility on the part of tax defaulters who kept on enjoining free roads, security and Health among several others” he stated.
According to him, the remaining 5.3 million employed Lagosians who did not pay their taxes were the enemies of the state and that government would go after them to recover the funds from them.
The special adviser said that government had invested a lot of time and resources in sensitising and educating the public on the need for voluntary tax payment, saying that government had now moved to the next phase of action which is enforcement and legal prosecution of tax defaulters with the support of the Attorney General of the Federation.
He further stated that government was committed to looking inward to source revenue without necessarily increasing the burden of the law abiding residents of the state with excessive taxation.
The Special Adviser explained that the government recorded an improvement in its IGR by a growth of 15 percent, adding that this had made the state less reliant on allocations from the statutory federal allocation and providing the state government with the needed funds to implement development projects.