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Lagos is expanding tax net to boost IGR – Special adviser

The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr Abdul-Kabir Ogungbo, has said the state plans to expand the tax net by bringing new tax payers into the system, and not overburden the current tax payers.

He said this was important to drive Internally Generated Revenue that would help to boost infrastructure in Lagos State, which is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

The special adviser said his office will focus on three major tripods which are property, informal sector and digital space.

He said, “We need more money for security and infrastructure; we need more money to protect lives and property. We need to educate the citizens and let them know we need more money to provide social amenities. For these reason, we are paying special attention to these three key areas.”

Speaking on what constitutes the property aspect such as landed properties, vehicles and others, he said, tax payers were being enjoined to make their little contributions to the big responsibility that the government was saddled with, in a way that was commensurate to their status.

The informal sector is a critical area that Lagos can use to fund its budget if properly harnessed, he said.

Ogungbo added that, “We are going to be engaging various stakeholders within the informal sector to be able to help capture some number of people who are not hitherto within the tax net. By meeting the associations, these associations can bring their people together in a way that will be better managed and coordinated.”

He observed that a lot of commercial activities were going on in the digital economy space, yet the sector remained untapped.

He said, “We have identified where we need reform and emphasised that we rather grow horizontally instead of growing vertically; meaning that horizontal spread will mean that we are bringing more people into the net rather than forcing or putting pressure on the little numbers that are already paying. So, we are going to go horizontal by expanding or extending to bring in more people to the net.”

Ogungbo said as part of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s determination to pay deliberate attention to measures to boost infrastructure in the state, he decided to resuscitate and promote the taxation and revenue office as a substantive ministerial department which was before now, under the Ministry of Finance as a department, but now has a special adviser’ of cabinet member status to drive the goal of boosting the revenue of the state.

This office, he explained, in addition to other strategy, would drive the partnership with Lagosians, put in place necessary framework and systems to ease the process of tax payment.

He said it would also provide verifiable information on projects executed by the Lagos State Governor, intitiatives embarked upon and developmental goals as part of the plan to justify the utilisation of tax payers money.

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