Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, has said that the Lagos State Government is using corrupt consultants to collect tax from the people.
Mailafia, who described the act as daylight robbery, called on the people of Lagos to rise against such extortion and corruption.
The former CBN deputy governor said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.
Mailafa, who praised Lagos for being able to increase its Internally Generated Revenue, said there was room for doing things in a better, transparent and more effective manner.
He lamented that tax consultants in Lagos receive as high as 20 per cent commission in some instances which was against the norm in other advanced climes.
Mailafia said when the people see that their taxes are being put to good use, they would be willing to pay more hence the spike in IGR during the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola.
The former CBN deputy governor said, “Lagos which was the poster child for success in internally generated revenue, still has a lot of issues there. I love Lagos but of course, Lagosians were very reluctant to pay more tax but when they realised Fashola was doing a lot of work, they were more than happy to pay.
“But there is a problem. The cost of extracting this taxation is one of the highest in the world. They have invited very dubious consultants who keep between 15 to 20 per cent of this tax. I think it is a form of iniquity and I don’t know why for the life of me, Lagosians tolerate that nonsense.
“It is their money and it is daylight robbery. Employ people, train them; let the government collect the tax, not private consultants. In France, there are schools dedicated to training people in public finance and tax administration. These are the people you should set about to collect your taxes, not some iniquitous and corrupt private consultants.”
Several petitions have been submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the past detailing alleged fraud by some tax consultants in Lagos State.
However, the EFCC has failed to invite anyone including the petitioners.