Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has lamented that only 600,000 of the 22 million Lagos residents pay tax.
He identified the need for residents to adopt a willful approach to the payment of taxes as a means of addressing fundamental challenges confronting the state and accelerating development in all sectors and sections.
Speaking at a sensitisation workshop on 2017 Water Technology and Environmental Control Exhibition and Conference (WATEC) held at Ikeja, Ambode said the tax situation not helpful to scale up provision of infrastructure and other amenities for the people.
Responding to a suggestion from one of the participants at the workshop that the state government should complete the ongoing shoreline protection particularly in the Lekki and Ajah axis as one of the ways to mitigate the impact of torrential rainfalls which caused flooding in the axis last week, Governor Ambode said in as much as government is willing to do such, it was being inhibited by its limited resources.
“Talking about protecting our shoreline, I want to tell you something. The ecological fund that someone talked about does not exist because the previous government, due to political consideration, never gave Lagos anything and protecting the shoreline runs into billions.
“Even doing those groins not to allow the water to break cost a lot of money and then with frozen taxes in the last eight to ten years, there has not been any increase in taxes unlike in the United Kingdom for instance where any young person living there knows that once you start working at the age of 18, your civic obligation is that you must pay tax but here nobody takes it as their business that the new road I am using I need to pay something and so they only pay tax when they are inside the real tax net that is you are paying pay as you earn.
“That is the only way we can catch you and so everybody takes it for granted that government will do it and there is nothing like government money, it is taxes that people are paying that you are asking for this shoreline protection, it is from the taxes that you are asking for us to de-flood, it is from the taxes that you are asking for us to do the roads and all that.