- Claims it paid N249m tax in 2016
The Informal sector operators in Lagos State have lamented multiple taxations in the state, saying they are oppressed by government agencies both at the state and local government levels.
At a one-day Validation Workshop of Research Findings on informal sector Taxation in Lagos State on Tuesday, representatives of various artisan groups disagreed with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service on the state government tax policies, arguing that the system was highly unstructured.
The validation workshop organised by Community Life Project supported by the United State Agency for International Development, USAID, attracted carpenters, mechanics, vulcanizers, hairdressers, tailors and market men and women associations.
In her opening remarks, Ngozi Iwere, executive director, CLP, explained that the essence of the validation exercise was to ensure that people pay taxes as and when due and also build a sustainable partnership between the informal sector and the government.
Iwere also emphasised the need for government to introduce a fair tax regime that will not be a burden to small businesses and startups, to encourage all eligible tax payers exercise their responsibilities such that government would be encouraged to provide essential services that will bring about holistic economic development.
In his goodwill message, Charles Abani, chief of party, Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement of the USAID, noted the need for transparent management of public funds, adding that Nigeria had had issues with poor leadership which had been the bane of development.
Abani said the USAID is working with various and notable organizations, including the informal sector as well as the government, to ensure that tax revenue is judiciously and transparently deployed to critical sectors of the economy for the purpose of building and advancing development.
“We want to see a better return on tax collection and ensure it is accounted for through service development. People often refuse to pay tax because services are not delivered; so collaboration and partnerships are key. Citizens and tax agencies should interface and also, we need innovation to improve our tax system and new policy reforms should be encouraged to entrench better services and good governance,” he said.
In his paper titled, “Inclusive and Equitable Taxation in Informal Sector in Lagos State,” the director for the informal sector, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Owolabi Kamson, said the government was working to harmonise tax system in the state.
Kamson, who was represented by Mr. Lawal Lanre, regional coordinator informal sector of the agency said government generated N249 million as tax from the sector in 2016 and that in the second quarter of this year, the tax from the sector has already surpassed what was collected the previous year.
He said government was willing to boost its service delivery, enjoining citizens to continue to pay their taxes.