The Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube, has said contrary to what people think about the revenue generating capacity of Lagos, the state doesn’t have enough taxpayers especially when you consider its population.
The total number of taxpayers in Lagos State was put at 2% by Samuel Egube. The number represents about 400,000 taxpayers in a state with over 20 million people.
According to Egube, “Even though we say we are over 20 million people in Lagos, the amount of people and organisations actually paying taxes in Lagos is only about 400,000. So, when people say Lagos has a lot of money, it is true, but when you look at it per capita, that is, compared with the over 20 million we have in Lagos, then there is nothing,” he explained.
Where the problem lies: It was learnt that the Lagos State tax base has between 700,000 and one million persons. This means about 300,000 to 600,000 individuals are defaulting, apart from the individuals and organisations evading the tax system and are undocumented by the state.
The number of taxpayers, according to Egube is poor considering the population size of Lagos State, and this, he said needs to change. The gap in number shows there’s no adequate tax collection, so the state government is considering steps to lure individuals and organisations into the tax base.
One of the methods under consideration to increase the number of taxpayers is the deployment of technology to ensure more persons fulfil their tax obligation to Lagos State, Egube said while addressing the state’s 2020 Appropriation Bill that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented to lawmakers recently.
He added that, “We want people to see taxation as their contribution to the development of the state. So, there would be a lot of advocacy around that. We shall build schemes to support taxpayers in the state.
“When you look at a state or a country, it is the way you are organised that helps you run. The difference between a developing and developed environment is in their organisation and you cannot say you have access the potential of your revenue if you are not controlling the commanding height of that economy in taxation.”