Agbaje, Ambode Disagree Over Lagos Tax System

Jimi Agbaje, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos State have disagreed over how the state’s tax collection process should be run.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, with the focus, “Private Sector Interactive Forum With Governorship Candidates of Lagos State,” on Friday, Agbaje argued that contracting the process to private consulting firms to collect and take some percentage of the tax money is illegal and must stop.

Agbaje said for instance, in a situation where 10 per cent of the tax is allocated to Alpha Beta Consortium, a leading tax consulting firm for the state government depicts that “there are vested interests in this state.”

He added that, “that vested interest has affected the state politically, economically and even religiously.”

Reacting, Ambode contended that allowing the private firms to partner with the government has helped the government to grow its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR from N600 billion in 2007 to over N200 billion annually.

Asked if he would reverse the trend by ensuring that only government employed civil servants collect taxes in the state, Ambode said he will maintain the status quo.

On the other hand, Agbaje told the business gathering that he will cancel the collection of tolls on the Lekki-Epe road if elected.

He stated that the collection is illegal because the contractor has been paid N80 billion instead of the initial N50 billion agreed; even as the construction company is yet to complete work on the road.

But Ambode stated that the plan by Agbaje is “impossible,” while warning that such move could cost the state “dearly.”

However both candidates agreed on the need to reach out to tax evaders in the state in order to raise more money to cushion the effect of expected reduction in federal allocation to the states occasioned by the fall in crude oil price.

Welcoming the candidates to the interactive forum, Remi Bello, LCCI President set out the rules of the debate, while warning against the use of foul languages.

He told the gathering that the event was organised for the candidates to showcase their plans for the private sector ahead of the elections.

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