Mr. Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation

Budget Office cautions Lagos against new taxes to meet budgetary target

*This is not a time for new taxes. There is only room to improve tax administration as we keep pushing to get everyone in the tax net ─Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

As most Nigerians nay Lagosians are yet struggling to recover from the adverse effects of the damaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mr. Ben Akabueze, Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Abuja, FCT, has said the Lagos State Government (LASG) must resist introducing new taxes to meet revenue target in 2021.

It was gathered that in 2020, the state had announced five percent tax introduced by the state film and video censors board — although it was recalled — and a 10 percent service tax on each transaction paid by passengers of ride-sharing companies.

However, Akabueze while speaking at the 2021 Lagos Economic Summit (‘Ehingbeti’)

Wednesday, February 17 stressed that Lagosians, like other millions of Nigerians, are still trying to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

According to him, the economy was affected, thereby impacting negatively the livelihood of Nigerians.

Lagos State should seek other ways of generating revenue by focusing on its goals and taking measurably steps to accomplish them, said he.

Akabueze stated: “This is not a time for new taxes. There is only room to improve tax administration. I know that we keep pushing to get everyone in the tax net,” he said.

“I know that there was a time in Lagos, by estimates there were about 3.5 million people still not in the tax net, who could have been contributing no matter how little.

“In terms of expanding IGR, one thing that needs to change is focus. I don’t know if this still happens but in the eight years tenure of (Babatunde) Fashola as governor, we used to have a monthly forum called the monthly revenue stakeholders meeting which he presided over personally.”

He noted at the time, “anybody who had a part to play was gathered into the room. You wouldn’t want to come month after month to give reasons why you did not meet your revenue target.”

The Budget Office Director-General further said: “The other thing is measurement. That’s where the commissioner for economic planning and budget and his team must roll up their sleeves.

“It is certainly hard work. Expanding IGR is a hard work which takes consistent efforts.”

Nigerians will comply with tax payment if they feel good about their environment, he stated.

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