Why Lagos Must Tax Some Assets And Liabilities
Nigeria News takes a look at some of the reasons behind Lagos state government’s drive to stiffen its tax policy.
You need to travel to some areas in Lagos, then you will see how people have acquired assets and liabilities that have not added value to human lives.
A trip to Lekki, Ikoyi and Ikeja Government Reserved Area, GRA revealed wastes in the midst of scarcity for millions of Lagos residents.
There are hundreds of houses inside Ikeja GRA with no single occupant. Likewise in Ikoyi and Lekki.
In some of these buildings, no fewer than three exotic cars are parked in the garages untouched. The houses are deteriorating every day while the cars are getting rust every minute.
The owners stay somewhere in Abuja or outside the country. Whenever these buildings are opened, it is either one of the owner’s mistresses is around. The mistress comes in, uses the facility and leaves the keys for the guards.
Many of these guards are from the northern parts of Nigeria. Their job extends to pruning the flowers and cutting the grass and trees.
On some of the buildings’ gates are posted notice of warning by the local governments for the owners to show up and pay up their tenement.
It was gathered that they hardly performed this simple civic tax duty even when it was as low as N1000. That was what the rich in Lekki paid as property tax (tenement) in the past as stated by Commissioner for Finance, it only showed how skewed tax system has been.
If a local government charges as low as N2000 for trade permit and about N1000 as TV/Entertainment permit for shops in local areas then the story is interesting.
I once followed a FIRS tax team on an invasion tour of some corporate institutions and was marvelled at the huge losses made by the state due to ineptitude and greed. You can put a bet on it that the real big men do not pay tax after all but rather look for the easy way out.
Many choice houses are occupied by guards and their concubines. A typical Nigerian moneyman can afford to own six Rolls Royce and other utility vehicles in his garage without recourse to proper motor vehicular registration much less pay tax on them.
The tax consultants and attorneys are feeding fat and cashing on the skewed system to keep their defaulting clients inflated.
If our tax system works so well, many houses in choice locations would have been auctioned a long time ago. Many of the rich would have gone under with their businesses after prosecution and probity would hold sway.
In as much as I support tax raise, I do not think the system is upgraded to insulate sabotage. The government body language to embrace transparency is still in doubt as dissent voices are muzzled daily.
As much as I will like the State Government to implement the Land Use Charge to the letter, the law should be more lenient with landlords who had acquired their property with their pensions.
The government would have to work its strategy from within by curbing its officials who have been living large and fat on the compromise with Lagos moneymen.
They have a way of evading tax with the help of tax officers. To effectively implement LUC, there is a need for the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode to audit those who had been handling it before now.