BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
The gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Fashola, and his counterparts in other parties: Dr. Ade Dosumu (PDP), Dr. Michael Dominic (APGA), Mr. Abayomi Asuni (NTP), Chief Yomi Tokoya (ANPP) and Mr. Ayodele Akele (NCP), engaged, yesterday, in a hot debate with the candidates criticising the current tax regime in the state.
The candidates spoke at the gubernatorial debate organised by the Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion (Church of Nigeria), Ikeja, aimed at articulating programmes and plans the candidates for the people of the state if voted into office next month.
The opponents of the incumbent governor condemned the 15 per cent cut from the IGR by Alpha Beta tax consultants and Terma tax consultants, clients of the state government on tax.
According to Tokoya, “15 per cent cut on taxation is a gross abuse of office; if voted into office, ANPP shall scrap it.”
Dosumu, who excused himself from the debate mid-way to attend to the visiting wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, who was in the state on an official assignment, said, “we will be guided by basic philosophy, transparency, accountability and reduced wastages in government if voted into office.”
Responding, Fashola explained that the company never collected tax for the state but only looked at the paper work to ensure that sharp practices were discouraged.
He said, “Before I came on board, there were a lot of loopholes through which people who were supposed to be collecting revenues for the state siphoned money; they were not remitting money into the state coffers but when Alpha Beta came on board, it helped moved our internal generated revenue (IGR) from N600 million to over N14 billion.
“The outfit set up to collect tax is the state Inland Revenue Services (LIRS), Alpha Beta only helped to verify all documents issued by the LIRS; they helped us to issue electronic tax clearance. If they helped us to generate this huge money, I just feel it is fair to appreciate them with the controversial 10 per cent.”