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Lagos Govt is insensitive with its new tax drive, says Ife 12 Group

GIANTS all: Dele Akindayo; Aaarinola Ajaguna and Taiwo Awosika at a radio programme

The Ife 12 Group has denounced the recent astronomical increase in the Lagos Land Use charges as well as sundry taxes in the state.

The group noted, in a release signed by some of its officials,  Adebayo Adeleke and Gbemisola Adepoju, that the increase of the Land Use charge and vehicle registration rates  is inimical to people’s well-being and business growth, ‘especially at a time when inflation has increased into double digits; when there is business closure; and massive job loss leading to suicides across the country.’

Ife 12 is a social activism group that advocates good governance, excellent leadership and promotes fairness and justice across Nigeria.

The Group declared the government decision as insensitive, saying the increase was a cruel joke taken too far. It lamented that instead of encouraging people in this recession period; and incentivizing private enterprises to perform better, the government has set out to compound peoples’ financial problems and business woes across the state.

‘The increase of taxes and bills without commensurate increase in salaries  nor the introduction of business incentives proves that the government does not care about the people but is only concerned with robbing Peter to pay Paul,’’ the statement said.

Members of the group also wondered while the government would name Alpha-Beta, a private company, in the land use law. It added that the inclusion was questionable and has given room for speculations that the public funds may be  mismanaged.

It advised Governor Akinwunmi Ambode not to fritter away the goodwill that Lagos residents have shown him since 2015 and that he should also be careful not to repay those who voted him into power with evil.

‘’Political office holders must understand that they derive power from the people and they must not just be accountable to the people but must ensure that they only enact laws that are people-friendly,’’ it said.

It explained that development; provision of roads, bridges and other infrastructures for a state should not be by force or at the detriment of human beings who will use those facilities. Projects should not also be embarked upon for grandstanding and for the purpose of rewarding political godfathers.

The Group declared that the state government should not force citizens of the state to engage corrupt activities to enable them cope with ‘the abnormal charges’.

‘’When people cannot easily pay the taxes legitimately, they would certainly seek illegitimate means to pay them,’’ the statement said.

It concluded that the State government should be careful not to push the state farther into debts while mortgaging the future of its citizens.