Lagos State government, on Tuesday, announced the introduction of a Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy of N800 daily to be paid by each bus driver, saying the initiative, which is to take effect from 1st of February, was to harmonise the taxes paid by transporters to the state government.
The new development, which will witness each bus driver paying N800 daily totalling not less than N288,000 annually to the covers of the state government, is being introduced on the heels of research carried out by an independent body in 2021, revealing that Lagos generated not less than N125bn annually from the collection of levies from the transport sector.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, who spoke at a press conference, which took place at Bagauda Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, and attended by stakeholders in the transport sector, said with the payment of the levy, each transporter would be entitled to a tax card daily to have a hitch-free exercise.
This was just as he described the development as a remarkable achievement happening for the first time in the state.
Those in attendance include the Special Adviser (SA) to the State Governor on Transportation, Mr Toyin Fayinka; Chairman and Secretary of Conference of 57, Mr David Kolade and Mr Razaq Ajala respectively.
Others are; Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr Ayodele Subair; Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr Ibrahim Odumboni; Chairman, Lagos chapter of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya popularly called MC Oluomo, among others.
Olowo said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu made it a priority to put the interest of Lagosians first, adding that the new initiative that takes care of personal income taxes, dues on the environment, Local Government levy and others was a way to reduce the multiplicity of collection taxes, dues and levies in the state.
“Mr Governor has made it a priority to put the interest of Lagosians first that is why we all the stakeholders are here today. Before we came out, we have fought, disagreed and agreed on the need to have our consolidated informal transport sector levy.
“The government of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has inspired that we all come together to have a consolidated levy that takes care of personal income taxes, dues on environment Local Government levy and others. We want to reduce the multiplicity of collection taxes, dues and levies.
“We want to build a reliable database so that all the players will be captured in the same data; we want to have bus drivers with their cards; we want to bring collaborative engagement,” he said.
The commissioner, while reiterating that an average bus driver currently pays not less than N3,000 daily as a levy, said the state government was poised to harmonise things and have a single charge of N800 daily, even as he further described the new initiative as a very insightful breakthrough for all those who do business within informal transport sector in the state.
“We want to harmonise, to have a single charge of N800. We want to moderate the fee payable to the goverment. This is a very insightful breakthrough for all those who do business within informal transport sector in the state,” he said.
NURTW Chairman, Lagos chapter, Alhaji Akinsanya, while clarifying the issue, stated that the N800 would not cover the levy collected by the ‘agberos,’ saying it only affected the taxes and other charges being collected by the state government.
According to him, “I want to make it clear that the N800 daily levy only covers all the money collected by the MDAs; it does not affect NURTW ticket.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Fayinka, explained that with the new development, a bus driver who pays at any given local government at the point of departure, won’t have to pay any levy again in the course of his journey.
“A bus driver from Badagry having paid N800 to Badagry Local Government and going to Mike 2, won’t pay again to Ojo Local Government. The payment at the point of departure takes care of the daily levy and other charges by the government,” Fayinka stated.
LIRS boss, Subair, in his own remark, expressed delight in bringing onboard large transport family in the state, noting that the new approach was one of the ways of harmonizing the levies in the transport sector, adding: “Anybody interested to have a good transport that works must bring everybody on board.”
“This system will ensure that the government will govern well and residents will be lawful citizens and will improve the standard of living. We call for full cooperation to ensure that everything works well,” Subair said.
Chairman Conference 57, Hon Kolade, described the signing of the new agreement as “symbolic and historic,” saying that the government appreciated the support of Union members in having a hitch-free outcome.
“It is a win-win situation for all of us. Whatever levy apportioned to us will be spent judiciously,” he said.
The briefing later culminated in the signing of the agreement by all the stakeholders in the transport sector.