By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Lagos State Government has been called upon to review and put in place an acceptable tax administration system in order to encourage more investments within the state.
They also charged the state government to outlaw the use of unorthodox means of collecting taxes and levies in the state and educate the public on the published list of approved/authorised taxes and levies in the state, local governments and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
Making the call at the 2014 Business Luncheon for CEOs and MDs organised by Ikeja chapter of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, the chairman, Prince F. Oba Okojie, said presently, most businesses consider the tax environment in Lagos unfriendly and disincentive to businesses.
He explained that in addition to the taxes payable to the state government under Act CAP.T2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, a total of 10 other taxes/levies are being collected by the Lagos State Government, saying that the incidence of multiple taxation and astronomical increase in taxes and levies has led to disruption of businesses in Lagos.
“The growth of the Nigerian economy has remained slow as a result of many factors, one of which is the challenge faced by businesses in the form of un-coordinated tax administration leading to what is referred to as “multiple taxation”, Okojie said.
He stated that multiple taxation discourages both local and foreign investment and makes locally manufactured products uncompetitive compared to imported ones.
According to him, it portrays a lawless and carefree society and also restricts business expansion.
Speaking on the theme of the luncheon, ‘Multiple Taxation: A Disincentive to Industrialists’, the Commissioner for Economic Planning & Budget, Lagos State, Mr. Ben Akabueze, assured that the state government will pursue further reforms of its tax administration system with a view to further simplifying assessment and payment process.
He said that the state government would consider eliminating power of discretion in the hands of revenue officers, as well as harmonisation of taxes and levies collectible and reduction in the cost of compliance.
He, however, called on MAN to assist in sensitising its members towards a tax compliance culture and to also censor and sanction members that act in defiance of well established laws. He said, “While some employers of labour and tax payers comply voluntarily with provisions of the law by paying their taxes as and at when due, some are not tax compliant.
“Employers of labour must in line with Section 81 of Personal Income Tax Act LFN 2004 as amended to date deduct taxes from their employees’ income and render same to the government coffers.”