The Lagos State Government and transportation stakeholders in the state on Tuesday signed an agreement and 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 between the state, local government, and various unions in the sector, as well as some government agencies in Lagos, was signed on Tuesday during a ceremony held in Ikeja.
In his remarks at the event, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, stated that the levy pegged at a flat rate of N800 covers money for not just the local government, 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 listed the benefits of the levy to include 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 said the levy approach was an alignment with stakeholders and total restructuring of the transport system to further boost monies coming into government coffers, adding that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had put the interest of citizens as a priority.
Statutory Levy Scrapped?
Stating that personal income taxes of the drivers would also be deducted from the N800 levy, he disclosed that the levy which would take effect on February 1 would be paid to moderate the fees that motorists in the sector pay daily, adding 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,” Olowo explained.
“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.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Toyin Fayinka, on his part, said the development was the first approach towards a total restructuring of the sector.
He said all stakeholders were duly consulted before the final signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), 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, 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.
He said they were in agreement with policies that would ensure the development of the state.
Akinsanya, popularly known as ‘MC Oluomo’, clarified that the N800 levy does not deprive the union of collecting its normal statutory levy, although he said the union’s dues would be collected at only one point in a structured manner going forward.
“The harmonised levy will not affect the national union ticket,” he stressed. “What it is aimed at consolidating are all the levies collected by the government and it was the union that approached the government to help us harmonise the payment of all the levies to prevent duplication of levies.”