Members of the informal sector have called for a just, fairer and equitable tax for their members.
They demanded that there should be even spread of social facilities and other services to justify the payment of taxes.
At a one-day workshop with the theme “Enhancing a Fair Equitable and Transparent Tax Regime in the Informal Sector”, organised in Lagos by Community Life Project (CLP) with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), they also called for more citizen enlightenment by government on tax issues.
They also complained that the taxes are arbitrary and called for transparency and openness on the process of assessment and collection through the use of e-payment platforms. .
Comrade Segun Apaoka of the National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) said the charges are arbitrary, while accusing some agencies of harassing the association’s members with exorbitant fines and taxes
“We have paid taxes but we have not seen the impact of the taxes that we dutifully pay, there are no facilities at the Mechanic Village,” Apaoka said.
Kunle Ajayi, a member of the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON) said the market women and men are at the mercy of their leaders, the “Iyaolojas and Babaolojas” who daily milk them by imposing all sorts of nebulous charges. .
Dr Francis Nchuchuwe, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Public Administration, Lagos State University (LASU), was not particularly happy that the government has usurped the powers of the local governments in the collection of tenement rates and radio license fees.
Charles Abani, Head of Civil Society, USAID Project said it was clear from the responses of the participants that not all collected revenues are getting to the coffers of government.
Dr Olayinka Akanle of the Department of Sociology, University of Ilorin, who presented the report, said two LGAs, Mushin and Kosofe were selected for pre-test while four others, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Isolo and Oshodi were selected for the main survey. Majority of the respondents are of the opinion that “taxes and rates/tariffs are constantly changing and unpredictable making it difficult for payers to make payment plans”.
The report also found out that the “enforcers are abusive and aggressive” while the rates were perceived as being “arbitrary”.
Executive Director of CLP, Ngozi Iwerre, said the engagement between the state government and councils officials and members of the informal sector was productive and expressed the hope that it will impact on future policies on taxation.