18 March 2015, Lagos – Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Wednesday said the state would continue to survive on tax income generation following the decline in Nigeria’s oil revenue.
Fashola spoke at the public presentation of a book titled,” Nigerian Tax Law and Administration in Lagos”.
The 15-chapter book was authored by the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye.
The governor said the crash in oil prices had led to shortages in allocations received by states from the Federal Government.
“Today,many states cannot pay salaries due to dwindling allocation and whenever the government cannot pay salary, it affects the economic life of the state.”
Fashola said that taxation was a legal obligation which was critical to the prosperity of any society, adding that withholding of taxes under any guise, was a crime.
“If there is a bad government in power, your recourse is not to withhold tax. Your recourse is to withhold your vote for that government at the next election.”
The governor advocated judicious use of the state’s resources for the provision of infrastructure and other services.
Also speaking, Justice Amina Augie, the presiding judge, Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, said the book would assist the jurists in reaching their decisions on issues relating to tax.
Mr Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), who reviewed the book, said that government was gearing to increase its revenue base through a more aggressive and efficient tax administration because of the contraction in oil revenues.
According to him, companies and other business enterprises are reviewing their tax planning and mitigation policies with a view to minimising their exposure to tax because of the effects of dwindling oil prices.
“The book delves into some of the burning issues that have preoccupied Nigerian tax jurisprudence in the last two decades and which inevitably arise in the context of implementing a tax regime in a federal structure.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Ade Ipaye, said Lagos State would continue to take tax income generation seriously as it is the catalyst for the development of the state.
Ipaye said he was inspired to write the book following his experience as a tax law teacher at the University of Lagos.
He said that his experience working as a tax assistant to former Lagos State Governor, Chief Bola Tinubu, also gave him some inspiration.