Lagos drivers want over-pampered street urchins off roads before implementing N800 levy
Commercial bus drivers in Lagos have called on the government to take street urchins, popularly known as Agberos off the road before implementing the daily levy of N800. The drivers claimed the government quest to eliminate multiple charges would not be achievable as long as urchins remain on Lagos roads.
The Lagos State government, yesterday, signed an agreement with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and others, for the collection of Informal Transport Sector Levy (ITSL) to harmonise dues collected by the government from commercial motorists at parks and garages across the state from February 1, 2022.
The levy will see each commercial driver in the state pay a consolidated levy of N800 to be shared among government agencies and local governments.
The agencies to share the amount are the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Ministry of Transportation, Local Governments and others.
According to the agreement, the Local government in Lagos will not collect levy from commercial drivers anymore as their shares have been added to the N800 levy per day for a commercial driver.
LIRS will now issue all commercial bus drivers tax cards yearly for paying the N800 daily, N24, 000 monthly.
At the signing of the agreement at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, said that the personal income taxes of the drivers would also be deducted from the levy.
“The consolidated transport levy will include the personal income tax of the drivers, include the cost of taking care of parks, include money for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), LG money and others,” he said.
Olowo said the need to harmonise the transport collection levy process became paramount as other associations have templates for collecting their dues.
He said from findings, a commercial bus driver pays as much as N3, 000 as a levy on daily basis to the various unions and government agencies.
“We want to reduce the fees payable. The levy will consolidate all levies; we want to build a reliable database to know those who are doing business in our state. Bus drivers will get tax card. We want to bring about a collaborative effort. It is imperative for Lagosians to know this is a remarkable achievement. An average danfo driver pays N3, 000 daily. Once they pay from the point of entry, once and for all, it is N800 charge per day.
While the move was yesterday applauded by commercials drivers who spoke with The Guardian, they were, however, sceptical of the government’s sincerity to finally stop multiple collections of levies.
A driver, Sunday Okorie said while it is a good development, he’s waiting for it to be fully implemented.
On his part, another driver who identified himself as Ayinla asked the government to create jobs instead of looking solely for ways to generate revenue.
Also, Sunday Akpan, said: “I spend more than N800 for different bodies on the road on daily basis, so, I commend the government, but it must eliminate over-pampered Agberos (streets urchins) from the road before implementing any collection.”