The Lagos State government has announced that with immediate effect, every bus plying the roads in the state must pay a daily tax of N800 to government coffers, which amounts to an annual levy of N288,000.
But the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state has made it clear that the tax was different from its collection.
The development comes on the heels of a research carried out by an independent body in 2021 that had revealed that Lagos generated not less than N125 billion annually from collection of levies from the transport sector.
Speaking during a media briefing in Ikeja, to intimate members of the public on the newly introduced levy, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo said each transporter would be entitled to a tax card daily to have a hitch-free exercise, adding that the levy would serve as payment of tax by the transporters.
According to Olowo, the briefing followed the signing of agreement among stakeholders in the transport sector to harmonise tax payment by transporters in the state.
Olowo said, “Mr. Governor has made it a priority to put the interest of Lagosians first, that is why all the stakeholders are here today. Before we came out, we had fought, disagreed and agreed on the need to have our consolidated informal transport sector levy.
“The government of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has inspired that we all come together to have a consolidated levy that takes care of personal income taxes, dues on environment Local Government levy and others. We want to reduce the multiplicity of collection taxes, dues and levies.
“We want to build a reliable database so that all the players will be captured in the same data; we want to have bus drivers with their cards; we want to bring collaborative engagement,” adding the development was a remarkable achievement happening for the first time in the state.
Whie reiterating that an average bus driver currently pays not less than N3,000 daily as levy, he said: “We want to harmonise, to have a single charge of N800. We want to moderate the fee payable to government. This is a very insightful breakthrough for all those who do business within informal transport sector in the state.”
In his clarification on the mode of payment, the leader of the NURTW in the state, Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya (M.C. Oluomo) stated that the N800 would not cover the levy collected by his members, saying it only affects the taxes and other charges being collected by the government.
According to him, “I want to make it clear that the N800 only covers all the money collected by the MDAs; it does not affect NURTW ticket.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Toyin Fayinka explained that with the new development, a bus driver who pays at any given local government at the point of departure, won’t have to pay any levy again in the course of his journey.
“A bus driver from Badagry having paid N800 to Badagry local government and going to Mike 2, won’t pay again to Ojo local government. The payment of point of departure takes care of the daily levy and other charges by the government,” Fayinka stated.
In his contribution, LIRS boss, Ayodele Subair said: “All these arrangements are geared towards the support of our dear Governor. This is one of the ways of harmonising the levies.
“On our part, we are very happy to bring on board large transport family. We know the importance this will bring to our society. Anybody interested to have a good transport that works must bring everybody on board.
“This system will ensure that the government will govern well and residents will be lawful citizens and will improve the standard of living. We call for full cooperation to ensure that everything works well,” Subair stated.
Chairman Conference 57, Kolade said the signing of the new agreement was, “symbolic and historic,” adding that government appreciated the support of union members in having a hitch-free outcome.