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Fashola’s Xmas Gift: Lagos Gets Rail Next Year

Posted by The PM News on 2008/12/17 | Views: 1186 |

Fashola’s Xmas Gift: Lagos Gets Rail Next Year


Lagos state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday, disclosed that the state’s model intracity rail service would commence next year with the construction of the rail lines.

Lagos state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday, disclosed that the state’s model intracity rail service would commence next year with the construction of the rail lines.

The governor, who spoke at the second Lagos State Taxation stakeholders conference, held at the Expo Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, added that the state government has just completed the designs of the rail service which would be followed by the actual construction.

He added that the state has also started the construction of jetties across the state, adding that more would be constructed next year. The governor, who described the transportation sector as the most critical sector, added that it usually determines at what rate food will reach the table of the average man as well as how life could be made worth living.

While reiterating his consistent position on the voluntary payment of taxes, governor Fashola said since the last stakeholders’ conference, the state has gone a step eahead by ensuring that there is an improvement in its tax administration system with the resultant improved performance.

Said he: “Dear compatriots, this year’s taxation conference is holding at an opportune time. With oil prices dwindling and oil prices falling freely: with the global economic downturn and the feverish search for alternative energy sources, there is no better time for us to take our destiny in our hands.”

Governor Fashola said it is very gratifying to note that at the time when oil price has dropped to as low as $50 per barrel, the state has signaled its intention through the Budget Year 2009 to weather the storm through a very realistic price projection which took adequate care of all increase in prices of services.

He assured that irrespective of the level to which the price drops, Lagos would continue to forge ahead.

In his words: “We have demonstrated that Lagos can be clean. We have shown what it takes to clean it. It is not rocket science. It has been done all over the world. We need people to continuously work to clean it. We need equipment to enable them do it. We need money to fund the equipment and their wages.”

He lamented that while a country like Dubai is beating its chest that it has no cause to worry till the next 30 years because it has successfully invested the proceeds of the jumbo oil prices wisely, no one can say categorically what Nigeria has done with her proceeds.

The governor promised to consider some of the recommendations of the stakeholders’ summit, such as the putting in place of a body of appeal commissioners as well as the resort to statutory rights of restraints as only a last resort.

He added that while the performance of the state government speaks for itself in terms of provision of social services, the state is also planning to construct cardiac and renal centres in Gbagada to put a stop to people seeking medical attention for renal problems overseas.

The governor told the audience that whatever progresses the state makes will depend on how voluntarily people are willing to pay their taxes, adding that with what has been collected, “we have shown that Lagos can indeed be clean.”

He described taxation as the people’s responsibility insisting that any leader that lies about taxation to the people is only deceiving them.

Said he: “Until any leader can show me other ways of funding public expenditure, taxation will continue to be the main attraction for all governments including ours, to tackle public spending.”.

He promised that Year 2009 will witness many more innovations in the tax administration system which would ensure that the government can act more responsively and make the system very fool proof.

On the land use charge, the governor said the state has not increased the rates payable in the last seven years despite the uplift in provision of social infrastructure which has resulted in improved worth of all such properties in the state .

He added that the little that is paid as land use charge represents the means through which the government sustains services like waste collection, adding that the timely payment of land use charges by individuals, is an investment in such individual properties.

He informed that he has reached an agreement with all local government chairmen to fashion into law a bill which will ensure that all taxes and rates to be charged at the local government level would be put in the public domain.

He identified the country’s tax cultures as been responsible for the difficulties which are being experienced with tax administration in the state. He warned that the state would also commence the prosecution of violators of tax as from next year, while it would continue to honour tax-compliant people and corporate bodies so that they can continuously inspire others to pay their taxes.

Also speaking, former governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who described governor Fashola as “our own Obama” said any adult who refuses to pay his tax is not fit to be described as a human being and does not deserve to enjoy the services of the state.

He said any government which intends to succeed with accountability must respect Lagos state for the formula which it adopted in fighting white collar corruption and blocking all loopholes in revenue generation.

Awards for individual tax compliance were presented to Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, Chief Olusegun Oshunkeye and Mr F.O Adeyemi, while the corporate winners were Coca Cola Company, Citibank Nigeria limited and MTN Nigeria.

Prizes were also presented to students who participated in an essay competition. The winners are, in the junior category, Mr Jester Idogo of St Gregory College, Obalende; Oluwadamilola Fasanya of Idi-Araba Junior high School and Ekene Uwajei of State Junior high School, Alimosho.

Winners in the senior category include Miss Paulina Idowu from Citizens School, Epe, who came third; Emeka Okoli, who was second and Miss Olamide Asade from Queen College, Yaba, who placed first. All the winners collected certificates and received scholarship awards at the ceremony which attracted dignitaries from far and wide.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.