Lagos State Government, yesterday, said its internally generated revenue (IGR) has hit a staggering N24.5 billion in just one month, despite the economic crunch ravaging the country.
This is coming as the state government read the riot act to tax evaders, insisting that the era of tax evasion in the state was over.
Commissioner for Finance, Mustapha Akinkunmi, disclosed this at a news conference organised by the Lagos Internal revenue Service (LIRS) in Alausa, Ikeja, where he said in January, the agency contributed N24.5 billion in revenue to the coffers of the state government.
“The current administration is issuing policies aimed at aligning the economy with goals that would set the state on a path of growth and stability as evidenced by major developments implemented by LIRS,” Akinwunmi said.
The amount, he said, amounted to 98 percent budget performance for that month and recording 12 percent growth from the same period in 2014.
Akinkumi also added that despite the harsh economic terrain presented in 2015, the state managed to realise increased revenue off the back of collections from tax-paying members of the public, adding that in 2015, the LIRS had contributed 79 percent to IGR in 2015.
“This equated to 56 percent of the state’s total revenue, including federal transfers. The total revenue achieved in 2015 was just short of N400 billion and is expected to continue growing, driven by strong tax collection.
“This administration has been able to make significant investment in security apparatus across the state and has provided street-lighting across the state. We are reducing costs through investment in technology which is a powerful tool for costs reduction through efficient administration,” he said.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, warned that the era of people evading tax in Lagos was gradually coming to an end as government would expand the tax net to cover lots of the working population.
He said the state government would set up a Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to partner the LIRS to prosecute tax offenders in court, adding, “tax dodgers watch out, we will get you.”
Kazeem said in view of the extreme financial downturn, there was the strong need for government to ramp up its IGR, stressing that the state would spare nothing in enforcing the laws regulating tax payment.
On his part, the LIRS Chairman, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, said government was already working to bring more members of the informal sector into the tax net, saying the Tax Returns Form has been reduced to two pages as against the six pages document, hitherto, in operation.
He also said the agency, in an effort to bring efficient service delivery closer to the people, recently commissioned two new tax offices at Tejuosho and Sangotedo, adding that efforts were also being made to open additional two tax stations within Amuwo Odofin/Festac and Alimosho areas.