Igando/Ikotun: Landlords, owners of small businesses cry out over double taxation
Small-scale business owners in Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, and landlords are complaining of multiplicity of taxes as the LCDA attempts to jerk up Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). According to them, since the LCDA chaired by Chief Morenike Adeshina Williams started sending out revenue collectors to comb the area and collect all sorts of fees, levies, including radio and television licences, small business owners and landlords have been at the receiving end of the exercise.
The affected persons complain of agents moving from door-to-door to demand payments for lock-up shops that had been paid for, thus hindering growth of their businesses, at a time that the country’s economy is still in tatters.
Already, some residents of the area, are also questioning the rationale behind paying radio and television licenses in this age and time, deploring a situation where the receipts of such payments are demanded each time they approach the council secretariat for anything.According to Leke Idowu, a vulcanizer along Igando Road, “if we fail to produce these receipts when council officials come around, they always threaten to seal our shops, or they park our tools away.”
Idowu, said despite paying for the licences whenever he renewed his trade permit, he was still being harassed by council officials.He called for caution by the council, saying raising revenue through these means was highly inconsiderate of government, especially now that many small-scale businesses are struggling to remain afloat.
For Kafayat Rahmoni, a school proprietress, the issue of council officials making outrageous demands from small business must be looked into by government.According to her, this matter has been discussed at the level of private schools proprietors’ association, yet these council officers still go, especially to some of the newly-established schools to make unnecessary demands from them, including fees that are not within their purview to collect. She noted that some of the demands council officials make of them now, were part of the charges that they pay at the beginning of the year.
Rahmoni called on the council authorities to harmonise things with the state government and stop bothering residents whose businesses are genuine with double taxation.
Responding to allegation of multiplicity of taxes, leveled against the LCDA, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the chairman, Eniola Badmus, said the revenue drive was inline with Lagos State policy on revenue generation.He said since the state government has mandated all councils to embark on revenue generation, what Igando/Ikotun LCDA is doing is in sync with the state government’s mandate to generate revenue through radio and TV licences, among others.
He added that it was not out of place for council officials to demand for proof of payment for these levies whenever landlords, business owners and residents come to the council for one thing or the other. Badmus particularly stressed that whatever payments anyone made to the state government in the course of doing business with it does not concern the LCDA, as both were working differently to raise revenue, hence claims of double taxation should not arise.
Corroborating Badmus’ position, Pastor Peace Onuoha, who chairs the LCDA’s revenue council said whoever pays radio and TV licences to the state government still has to do so to the LCDA.While informing that even those without radio and television sets are mandated to pay for the licences, he explained that the council officials would never seal up defaulters’ houses or shops, but rather appeal to them to pay up.
But Sodik Afinni, who sells on music equipment, accused the leadership of CDAs and CDCs in the LCDA of politicising their activities that at the rate the council is going, it would soon run down small businesses with over- taxation.
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