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Only 51 per cent taxable Lagosians pay tax – Ambode

The Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said that only 51 percent of taxable adults in Lagos pay tax to the state government.

Mr. Ambode was responding to questions in a tweet meet Sunday by social media activist‎, Japhet Omojuwa.

“The government is focused on attracting new investments to Lagos,” Mr. Ambode said.

“New investments will create a chain reaction in the economy; ancillary businesses will start, jobs will be created for our youth and they will become tax payers. That way, Lagos will ‎have more revenue.

“We can also increase our revenue if we get more people paying their taxes. Right now, only 51 per cent of our taxable adults pay tax.

“We need to administer our ta‎xation more efficiently to get more people in the tax net. We want to make tax payment as easy and convenient as buying a recharge card.”

Mr. Ambode also said that the ongoing Lagos light rail project along the Badagry expressway would be completed in 2016.

“Work is going on but not fast enough to meet our expectations,” he said.

“This project is driven by commercial loans and bonds leaning on the state’s IGR. That arrangement can’t be sustained.

“We are negotiating a better package that will deliver the project by the end of 2016.”

Mr. Ambode said that meeting expectations in the face of dwindling government revenues had been challenging.

“We have many problems to take care of with limited resources,” he said.

“It is a challenge to choose which projects to embark upon and which to keep in view for later. The consideration is always which project would benefit the generality of the people.”

The Lagos State governor noted that the need to restructure the civil service was responsible for naming his cabinet late, adding that many states are yet to appoint their commissioners.

On the worsening traffic situation and rising traffic robberies across the state, Mr. Ambode ‎said that the government would finish road constructions and fix pot holes to ease traffic.

“We will deploy more traffic officers to the road to direct traffic and enforce the laws,” he said.

“I am concerned with the traffic robberies that have been reported in Lagos especially along Eko bridge. I recently received an email from a rep. of @IretiolaDoyle telling me of her experience at the hands of street robbers.

“These stories bother me because it is my responsibility to secure this state.”

Mr. Ambode said that the government is changing its security strategies to tackle to security situation.

“We are doing a lot of things that we cannot disclose at the moment but I assure you we will make our homes, offices and roads free of crime and violence,” he said.

“Just yesterday, I told the Commissioner of Police that we must change our policing strategy. It seems the old strategy is not working. So we must try something different till we are sure that state is secure.

“We also want residents to use our toll free lines and report crimes. We also ask that people should stop reporting fictitious crimes because our officers expend energy that should be used to chase real incidents investigating events that did not happen.”

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