Lagos Transporters to start paying N800 instead of N3,000 daily levy

Transporters in the informal sector in Lagos State will now pay a consolidated fee of N800 daily as government tax. This will take effect from February 2022. Before now, a driver paid about N3,000 daily, excluding other union dues. But under this new arrangement, a driver will only pay N800, no matter the number of trips or local government he travels. This means a driver will pay about N297,000 annually to the state government.

 

Prior to this agreement which has been brewing since 2020, it was about N1, 095, 000 yearly.

 

Finance Commissioner Rabiu Olowo addressed reporters yesterday on the modalities for the payment process, which also culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between concerned government agencies and the road transport unions.

 

The commissioner said the Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy was adopted to harmonise the levy collection process, reduce the multiplicity of taxes, have a reliable database of transporters and eradicate undue harassment of drivers.

 

He added that each driver would be entitled to a tax card daily to have a hitch-free exercise.



Olowo said the levy covers Personal Income Tax, cost of cleaning the parks, environmental protection levy and local government levy.

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Concerned government agencies are the Ministry of Transport on oversight functions, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), local government councils and Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).

 

Speaking, Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, clarified that the N800 does not cover other dues and levies collected by the unions.

Lagos Transporters to start paying N800 instead of N3,000 daily levy
Lagos Transporters to start paying N800 instead of N3,000 daily levy

“We want to reduce the multiplicity of taxes, dues and levies paid at the motor parks and garages. We want to build a reliable database so that the players will be captured in the same place; we want to have bus drivers with their cards and ensure collaborative engagement. This is a remarkable achievement happening for the first time in our state.

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“We want to harmonise the payment of levies to a single charge of N800. We want to moderate the fee payable to the government. This is a very insightful breakthrough for those who do business within the informal transport sector in Lagos.”

 

“The union approached the government to harmonise its different levies so members can also access social services, which require the evidence of tax payment.

 

“I want to make it clear that the N800 only covers all the money collected by the government agencies, it does not affect NURTW tickets,” he insisted.

 

Special Adviser to the governor on Transportation Toyin Fayinka said with the new development, a driver who pays at the point of departure in a local government won’t have to pay again in the course of his journey.



Effect

This recent change is a major blow on tax collectors in the state. Just last week, about the same time this announcement was made, a leadership tussle erupted on Thursday night among factional members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), it became bloody on Friday following the killing of three people and many injured. Many others also sustained bullet wounds as the warring factions engaged in a free-for-all.

 

The police arrested a yet to be ascertained number of suspects after firing tear gas canisters to disperse the warring factions.

 

The crisis grounded business activities at the ever-busy Lagos Island as traders at Idumota and Balogun Market quickly locked their shops to avoid being caught up in the shootout.

 

It was learnt that the fracas erupted between those loyal to Kunle Poly and followers of another simply identified as Alhaji.

 

It was gathered that the Alhaji gang had penultimate Friday threatened to take over the collection of toll at some of the motor parks under the control of Kunle Poly.

 

The threat manifested on Thursday evening when gunshots were heard around Idugaran, Idumagbo, Agarawo and Idumota areas of Lagos Island.

 

“There were heavy gunshots and serious fight at the Lagos Island on Friday as Area boys engaged themselves in a free for all fight at Idumota, Kosoko, Oluwole, Martins, Balogun,” a trader identified as Chukwuka Ndukwe alleged.

 

The combined team of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Taskforce and Area A Police Command were later deployed to ensure peace returned to the area,

 

Mc Oluomo agreeing easily to such deal may have favoured him than the other group of tax collectors as this new arrangement blocks having of collectors anywhere one suits and promotes “territorial supremacy”.



However, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, later told journalists that “The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored. As we speak, the place is calm. Some arrests have also been made. Investigation has commenced.”

 

Also, the Lagos State Government has appealed to the warning parties, to stop their violent acts.

 

In a statement issued by Gbenga Oyerinde, Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Central Business Districts, the government appealed to the warring gangs to stop.

 

According to Oyerinde, the violence was caused by the “infiltration of the area by street gangs and hoodlums from other parts of the state into the island under the guise of membership of NURTW,” adding that the government “is doing all within its power to restore the peace of the area.”

 

Oyerinde advised members of the public to be vigilant and security conscious while within the Lagos Island Business District, saying “Security operatives have been mandated to arrest and prosecute anybody breaching the peace of the area.”

 

In addendum, a pressure group, Omo Eko Pataki, on the Friday of same week, maturely faulted the proposed N800 transportation levy imposed on commercial bus drivers by the Lagos State government describing it as cruel, ill-advised and patently outrageous.

 

In a statement by a trustee of Ọmọ Eko Pataki, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd), the group noted that transporters will transfer the heavy toll to commuters just as he urged the state government to scrap the proposal.



The statement reads: “The newly imposed levy of N800 on all transporters by the Lagos state government is cruel, ill-advised and patently outrageous.

 

“In a time of general economic hardship when many Nigerians can hardly afford three square meals a day, it is unconscionable to impose more burdens on the hapless citizens of Nigeria’s commercial centre.

 

“Transporters will naturally transfer this heavy toll to commuters which in turn will cause multiple spiral effects on the cost of foodstuffs and general goods.

 

“The ultimate effect of this pure extortionist policy will vitiate the economic well being of the rich and poor. Nobody will be immune including those who are turning governance into an insentient money-making machine.

 

“This is unfair. This is unjust. This is unacceptable. The first principle of governance is to protect and serve the interest of the electorate.

 

“Unfortunately, the Lagos state government has warped this principle. It is obvious to us now that the Sanwo-Olu government is indifferent to the welfare of our people. Its fixity is borne upon greedy, acquisitive orgy. This is not the vision of enlightened power.

 

“We, at Omo Eko Pataki, reject this reactionary, covetous, selfish and thoughtless levy. It is needless. It is unnecessary. It is wrong. It is a fatuous anti-people policy that is capable of triggering social unrest that none of us wants to happen.

 

“We want peace and harmony in our dear state. With large unemployment among our youths, with dwindling economic purchasing power among the working population, adding this avaricious levy is tantamount to incitement of the populace.

 

“The position of Omo Eko Pataki is unequivocal. The N800 levy is one tax too many. It should be scrapped forthwith.



“Government should focus on other sources of raising its income by going back to the seemly abandoned metro line and the long-proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge which is looking more like a pipe dream than a reality.

 

“We, however, take cognizance of the two units of ten coaches each recently acquired by the state government. We hope it will achieve the ultimate goal of easing the transportation burden of our people.

 

“We hope and pray that all the necessary parameters in the acquisition of the ‘Two New Train Sets’ will serve the purpose of meeting the expectations of our people. The experience with the Enron Power generation plant did not meet the minimum standard of service before it disappeared.

 

“People-oriented project should be the purpose of governance rather than the narrow-minded exploitative policy like the obnoxious and condemnable N800 transportation levy. Our government should be humane and selfless. It should not be seen as purely driven by narrow economic advantages.”

 

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