By Dotun Ibiwoye
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State said that Lagos is the only state that will be unaffected in the federation if the oil revenues stopped coming for Nigeria, because 70 percent of its funds is internally generated.
The governor said this at the Sixth Lagos State Taxation Stakeholders Conference. He also stated that residents of Nigeria were living in a paradise compared to other places in the world where taxation is extremely high, noting that he has never passed any tax law since he was elected. While justifying why Nigeria is a tax haven, he noted that the maximum tax levied in Nigeria was 25 percent whereas, it was as high as 52 percent in Spain and Italy.
According to him, the Internal Generated Revenue, IGR, of Lagos has placed the state at an advantage over other states because of the collective effort of the citizens. “If they shut the tap on oil and the oil revenue stops, Lagos State is the only state that can survive without oil. Seventy percent of what we spend is our collective effort in our IGR. It is better to live in a life when you have the destiny of your life in your hand s and in control, not on a life of lottery where you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. He said.
“People have been criticising me that I am taxing everything available in Lagos, they say I have even started taxing the air. I want everyone to note that I have not passed any tax law since I have been elected as a governor. I only implement the existing laws that I met.
He added: “I have only aggregated all the local government laws into one law. In 1999 we could not moved waste out of this state. Olorunsogo and Idioro were cut off from Lagos because of the waste littering everywhere. Waste didn’t come from heaven, it was from heaven it was from our human activities. It is easier to move the waste in the refuse bag than to move it on the street.
“In the last US election the most paramount issue in the debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama was taxation. Reduction of debts and other economic management all came down to taxes. On both sides the American people could not escape taxes.
The governor also discouraged Millions of Nigerians who go to foreign embassies in search for greener pastures.
“There hundred million people who are the Americans owe the world over 16 trillion dollars and that is where we go and queue up for visa. We should know that we have all the advantages here in Nigeria.
“On the streets of New York, you will see garbage just as you see here in Lagos. If you go out in New York by 4 a.m, you will feel that you are in a city overtaken by refuse. People are supposed to put their refuse in the waste bag.
“If we share the responsibility appropriately this state will be cleaner than it is presently. LAWMA is not supposed to sweep the streets, they are meant to clear the waste bags.