Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola says the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje is a tax evader as he is owing the state four years tax, urging Lagosians not to vote for a tax evader.
Speaking at the 8th Annual Stakeholder Taxation Conference in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Wednesday, Fashola said Agbaje’s pharmaceutical company has not paid the state government four years Land Use Charge, LUC, tax and that such a person is not credible to govern Lagos.
According to him, “LUC is ground rent and tenement rate as they were consolidated. I know that you have to vote next month but look at that candidate that would need to take over from me and be careful of who to vote for. You will remember that in 2007, he (Agbaje) claimed that he was in DPA and later crossed to PDP.
“You know that he manages a pharmacy called Jaykay Pharmacy, located at 9, Randle Close, Apapa. His pharmacy has not paid land Use Charge for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
“They paid in 2013 and 2014 because they discovered that the election would be holding in 2015. His pharmacy owes this state N1, 629, 064.62. Let us do that mathematics to see how many facilities that funds would have provided in our hospitals and stationary in our schools. But this was the same person who was complaining that the state government spent three percent of its budget on education.
“Local Government is responsible for the management of the primary schools and yet he has withheld their taxes. This is the man who wants to be your next governor. And I will advice you that you avoid deception and tax evader,” he stated.
The governor said tax administration challenges were not peculiar to Lagos alone but a global problem, saying that the reduction in the number of residents prosecuted for tax evasion showed that residents were now tax compliance, saying that it showed that the message and our prophecy seven years ago has come to fruition.”
Fashola said it is illegal not to pay tax and that no politician seeking for public office would say that residents should not pay tax, stressing that Agbaje’s point should always be how to make tax administration effective and ensured that residents get value for their taxes.
“When our opponent complained that the state government was imposing more taxes on the residents, they have forgotten that they enacted that law. Where we were years ago was where the Central Government had chosen to start. The Payment of tax is the first principle of the social contracts between the government and the citizens. It is an irreducible legal minimum of citizenship and a breach of this responsibility is a criminal offence under our law,” he said.
The governor added that this had been the state of the human affairs since society were voluntarily form and that anyone who advocated the non-payment of taxes is as guilty as the tax evader.
He said it is prescribed by the 1999 constitution in section 24(f) that it shall be the duty of every citizen to declare its income to the appropriate and lawful agency; and pay it promptly.
“All those who have paid their taxes have shown that they are lawful citizens. And anyone who has failed to pay tax is a bad citizen. He is also a cheat; such person benefits from the commonwealth-the roads, hospitals and other facilities provided by funds generated from taxes paid by the residents,” he stated.