The Lagos State Government is brainstorming with stakeholders in the business environment to harmonise tax collection system in a bid to nip multiple taxation in the bud.
Issues, such as multiplicity of taxes, rates, illegal levies, harassment of citizens by revenue officers, especially by local governments, among others were brought to the front burner for discuss.
Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Shade, while speaking the 2017 Tax and Revenue Stakeholders Forum, said the government was concerned about public complain on issues bothering on multiple taxation.
“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 in the state 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 of the people and therefore must ensure decorum on the way government officials carry out their duties.
“Revenue collection should not be at the detriment of the people and the era of harassment of people by revenue officials, particularly in local government areas will be put to an end, ” he said.
The commissioner said though the constitution gave right of collection of levies to some level 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 government level to introduce ICT for ease of billing and collection, as this would go a long way in reducing cost of collection, fraud and improve revenue generation.
Speaking, Mrs Clementina Ativie, President, Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria, lamented that several government officials, especially those at the council normally collect series of taxes from them for which receipts were not issued.
She said if government could harmonise the tax collection system, it could generate N1 billion revenue annually from table water producers.
Ativie said the association had about 2,500 members, adding that the challenges of multiple taxation has been given members concern of which many were planning to move out of the state to other neigbouring states.