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‘Quality of governance has implications for business’

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Babatunde Ruwase


…OPS seeks answers for Lagos infrastructural challenges, taxes

Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), have explained their involvement in the electioneering process, citing the need to protect their investments as well as ensure that the quality of governance is improved upon for sustainability.
   
According to the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase, instituting a debate for gubernatorial candidates was necessitated by the fact that the private sector remains a major stakeholder in the State in terms of its internally generated revenue, job creation, and general advancement of the economy.
  
“This exercise is very crucial because the quality of political governance has profound implications for the quality of investment environment. Without a conducive environment for business, there cannot be meaningful economic progress, and this could impede the capacity of the private sector to create jobs, and support revenue growth of the government,” he added.

  
When asked to defend their manifestoes as it relates to the business environment and the issue of multiple taxes, the gubernatorial candidates acknowledged the need to widen the tax net in the state to reduce the burden on the firms and people paying taxes.Similarly, some of the candidates emphasised the need for regulators in the state to act as facilitators rather than as revenue generating agencies.
   
Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said: “We need to get more people into the tax net by devising an efficient way to increase the number of people in the tax net. Government needs to be very creative by pushing development in new areas so that people can come in. Public-Private partnership projects should be deployed for efficiency.
  
On his part, Jimi Agbaje of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that only less than 50% of those expected to pay tax are paying.“The way forward is to grow the economy and diversify the tax net. The health insurance is an additional tax on people living in Lagos. Amenities provided to people will determine how many people will come in. Regulatory agencies should be used to enhance the society rather than being used for revenue generation,” he added.

On the Apapa gridlock, the two candidates agreed that strict measures must be adopted to end the perennial gridlock that had crippled business opportunities within the ports, stressing that the challenge would be tackled head-on when they become the governor.
   
However, both candidates could not agree on the specific date they would solve the perennial gridlock within the Apapa Central Business District, CBD.Speaking on the perennial traffic gridlock on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Sanwo-Olu emphasised that his administration would solve the gridlock within the first 60 days, because he had done the needed study on it.
  
While reeling out five things that would be done by his administration within the first two months, the APC candidate argued that the axis was important to his government and would restore its glory. “Apapa is a nightmare and there are some individuals that we need to have strong conversation with. Those trucks were somewhere before now. So we will go there and ensure they returned to where they were. We will reach out to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), so that they can return to the ports. We will embark on a pooling system. We will ask that the trailers should park outside the state, and will only be allowed to come into Lagos when they are needed,” he added.


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Babatunde RuwaseLCCI
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