By Femi Anamelechi, Lagos
Transport operators in Lagos look set to enjoy a new levy policy. This is coming on the heels of a policy agreement signed by the Lagos State government and transportation stakeholders on Tuesday.
Having signed the agreement, both parties officially unveiled the ‘Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy’ to harmonise dues collected by the government from commercial motorists at parks and garages across the State.
The agreement was signed during a ceremony held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja.
Speaking during the event, Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, explained that the levy pegged at a flat rate of ₦800 covers money for not just the local government levy alone, but also that of clearing waste from motor parks paid to the Ministry of Transportation, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
He said the benefits of the levy included harmonising the collection process by putting a structure in place, reducing multiple taxes, dues and levies to all agents of state and local governments, providing reliable data, eradicating harassment of bus drivers and bringing collaborative engagements within stakeholders, among others.
The Commissioner further said the Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy approach was an alignment with stakeholders and total restructuring of the transport system that will further boost monies coming into government coffers, adding that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had prioritise the interest of citizens.
Dr Olowo, who disclosed that personal income taxes of the drivers will also be deducted from the ₦800 levy, said the Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy which will take effect on February 1, 2022, would be paid to moderate the fees that motorists in the sector pay daily. He added that tax cards would also be issued to them.
“The N800 is a single structured collection of the monies payable to all government agencies and parties who are directly or indirectly associated with the transport sector.
“What the government has done is to organise the collection and reduce the multiplicity of levies and all sorts of taxes, dues and monies due to government from the transport unions.
“Bus drivers will get tax cards, and the issue of arbitrary payments will be eradicated once they pay from the point of their loading each day,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Toyin Fayinka, said the development is the first approach towards a total restructuring of the transport sector.
He said all stakeholders were duly consulted before the final signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is aimed at bringing sanity into motor parks in line with best practices globally.
The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW), Musiliu Akinsanya, publicly known as ‘MC Oluomo’ explained that the union, in collaboration with the Road Transport Workers Union (RTEAN), had approached the government to consolidate the fees to make it easier for the government.
Stating that they were in agreement with policies that would ensure the development of Lagos State.
The NURTW boss, however, clarified that the ₦800 Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy does not deprive the Union of collecting its normal statutory levy but gave commitment that the union dues will now be collected at only one point in a structured manner.
“The harmonised levy will not affect the national union ticket. What it is aimed at consolidating are all the levies collected by the government and it was the unions that approached the government to help us harmonise the payment of all the levies it has been collecting to prevent duplication of levies” he said.
The event was attended by the top government officials and stakeholders in the transport sector, among who are Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Ayodele Subair; Chairman of the Association of all local government chairmen in Lagos State, known as Conference 57, David Kolade; Managing Director of LAWMA, Ibrahim Odumboni, among others.