The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) maintains that the Lagos State Government under the present regime has little or nothing to show for the huge amount of Internally Generated Revenue realised every month.
The reiteration of our earlier position is necessitated by the declaration by the LASG its average monthly IGR had soared from N20bn in 2013 to N23bn in the first quarter of this year.
The Special Adviser, taxation and Revenue, Mr. Bola Shodipo, and the Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, during a ministerial press conference to mark the fourth year second term in office of Governor Babatunde Fashola in Alausa, Ikeja, noted that taxpayers increased from 3.8 million in 2013 to 4.5 million as of first quarter of 2015.
As a responsible Coalition, we do not object to people paying taxes but a case multiple taxation, as it is evident in the case of Lagosians, is highly reprehensible.
More so, it is no news that many of the Lagos State government’s projects are elitist in nature. Some of the projects are sighted where users have other options whereas the area where the mass of Lagosians reside are groaning under the burden of infrastructure development. A ready example is the Lekki-Ikoyi cable bridge which was constructed for about N29bn whereas areas like Ayobo-Ipaja, Aboru, Agboyi-Ketu etc are still making do with make-shift bridges.
Aboru dwellers, for instance, are usually cut off from other areas once there is rainfall because of the bad access roads. Same is the story for Ayobo-Ipaja where residents have been at the mercy of a private investor who constructed a make-shift bridge with planks and collect toll from anyone that would make use of it.
Likewise, schools in Lagos State are not spared. Many of the schools are in one state of disrepair or other. With the $90m World Bank Eko Project Fund, one would have thought that the schools would be heaven on earth, but a closer look shows that many of the schools, even the ones with comely outer structures, are mere facade to cover up the rot in them.
For instance, many pupils in Lagos State schools still sit on window sills and bare floor while many of the schools have leaky roofs and the classes are overcrowded.
Even in the areas where government used the taxpayers’ money to construct roads, such roads are tolled. This neo-capitalist stand of the Lagos State government is not only preposterous, but highly condemnable.
CACOL maintains that Lagos State should provide all the necessary amenities for Lagosians, if not, what are the people getting in returns for the taxes they are paying? Low income housing should be provided, tolls should be removed from Lagos roads, potable water should be provided, roads should be fixed, schools should be upgraded to standard befitting a mega city, to say the least.
We must reiterate that the poor people in Lagos are really suffering from the heavy burdens the present regime has placed on them. It is evil for government to just take from its citizens without providing them the basic infrastructure.
Executive Chairman, CACOL
16 April, 2015