Lagos State Government has cautioned against revenue collection at the detriment of the people; adding that the era of harassment of residents by revenue officials, particularly in local government areas should cease.
The Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade, who said this at the 2017 Tax and Revenue Stakeholders Forum, expressed government’s concern over public complaince on issues bothering on collection of revenue and multiple taxes.
Issues, such as multiplicity of taxes, rates, illegal levies, harassment of citizens by revenue officers, especially by local governments, and a host of others were discussed at the meeting.
The Commissioner said although the constitution gave right of collection of levies to some levels of government, the state and local government had been collaborating in the collection of land use charge, and others.
Ashade advised all revenue generation agencies, particularly at the local councils to introduce ICT for ease of billing and collection, as this would go a long way in reducing the cost of collection, and fraud, while also improving revenue generation.
“We are here today to deliberate, resolve and fashion out a way of harmonising the collection of taxes, levies and fees by all revenue generation agencies of government in the state and local government areas saddled with the responsibility of tax collections and generation,” he said.
Ashade said the meeting provided an opportunity to address areas of conflict, streamline revenue collection between the state and the local governments, and set up a proper channel of collection and billings.
“The state government is passionate about providing an enabling environment for business growth for the people, and therefore must ensure decorum on the way government officials carry out their duties.”
Also speaking, the President, Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria, Mrs Clementina Ativie, decried that many government officials, especially those at the councils normally collected series of taxes from them for which receipts were not issued.
She said if government could harmonise the tax collection system, it could generate N1billion annually from table water producers.Ativie said the association has about 2,500 members, adding that the challenge of multiple taxes has been a growing concern to members, with many planning to relocate to other neigbouring states.