By AKOMA CHINWEOKE
Lagos State government has blamed professionalÂ bodies in Nigeria for tax evasion by private organisations and the general public.
Special adviser to Governor BabatundeÂ Fashola onÂ taxation and revenue, Mr. Ade Ipaye, disclosed this during a courtesy visit by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), IkejaÂ District.
According to Ipaye â€œif professional bodies in the state enlighten private organisations and general public more on the importance of paying tax in the state, the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state would have increasedÂ from N14 billion.â€
He added that many Lagos residents were ignorant of the importance of payingÂ tax, arguing that potential tax payers depend on the information from professional bodies before payingÂ tax .
Ipaye, who noted that tax bodies in manyÂ countries serveÂ as an intermediary betweenÂ government and the general public on taxÂ matters, lamented that only civil servants in Lagos State have continuedÂ to pay taxÂ since the administration of Col. Buba Marwa while private organisations in the state have refused to do same.
He accused the management of some organisations of not remitting fullÂ taxÂ paid by their workers.
â€œThe essence of tax is for a better society, as this tax will not go to any bodyâ€™s pocket but straight into the coffers of the state governmentâ€, Ipaye said.
Responding to the allegation, the chairman of CITN, Ikeja District, Mr. ChukwuemekaÂ Eze, said CITN has begun to use theÂ mediaÂ to give enlightenment to the public on the need to pay taxÂ to the state government.
He also delivered an invitation to the state governorÂ through his SA ahead of its investiture ceremony with theÂ theme: Taxation as a tool for Democratic Sustainabilityâ€, which holds in Lagos on April 22.
On the reason forthe theme, he stated that CITN believesÂ that for any democratic country to succeed, its citizensÂ Â must pay tax toÂ government which will in turn be usedÂ forÂ developmentÂ throughÂ provision ofÂ social amenities .â€
Taxation is one of the socio-economic issues that shapes the level of development inÂ any economy . So, people need to understand the connection between democracy and taxationâ€,Â he said.