Lagos state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday appealed to defaulting companies and the Organised Private Sector, OPS, in the state to promptly pay their taxes, representing 70 per cent of the state’s Internally generated revenue.
The governor, who spoke at the second Lagos Corporate Assembly interactive session at the Lagos House, Alausa, said that payment of taxes would guarantee the creation of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said that once taxes reduced, it was obvious that infrastructure development in the state would definitely reduce as taxes provided enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“Payment of tax is the real foundation for growth and development of every economy,” he said.
Mr Ambode noted that the OPS as well as the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, were the real owners of the state’s economy, hence the need for them to perform their civic obligations.
Responding to concerns raised by the business community on the negative effect the chaotic situation in Apapa was having on their businesses, Ambode said the call-up system for tankers and containerised trucks should be structured to eliminate the present chaos.
He said that the issuance of licences for more tank farms in the axis must be put on hold.
“While the move to repair the major roads in Apapa is laudable, concerted efforts must equally be put in place to address the issues that gave rise to the crisis which were more of port management,” he said.
Expressing optimism that the intervention of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would go a long way in addressing the crisis, Ambode criticised the recent granting of approval for another tank farm to be situated in Apapa.
He said that such would only aggravate the chaotic situation already on hand.
On the International Trade Fair complex, Mr Ambode said that the state government in the interim, would look into the possibility of getting an investor to build a large convention/exhibition centre.
He said this would be done while awaiting the process to issue out another concession by the Federal Government and development which might take years.
“There is need for the Lagos State Government to construct a permanent trade fair complex to be investor friendly.
“This will reduce yearly waste of resources for temporary construction of shops at the complex every year which investors usually bear the cost,” he said.
On efforts so far to enhance the ease of doing business, the governor said that an industrial park had been approved for location in Imota, while another industrial development centre was approved.
He said that the state government also approved business clinic for the Micro and Medium Scale Enterprises, MSMEs, while the Public Private Partnership office had also been reactivated, in addition to harmonisation of inspection of work places.
On the Oshodi Transport Interchange and Airport Road currently under construction, Ambode said that the projects were conceived and being implemented to create massive jobs for the people, and also transform the face of Lagos forever.
Earlier, the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Nike Akande; Chairman, Ikeja Branch of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Francis Meshioye; and Chairman, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, NASME, Lagos State Chapter, Solomon Aderoju, commended Ambode for the various laudable initiatives.
They also commended the governor for addressing all the complaints raised by them at the last year’s edition of the meeting.
The state’s commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Rotimi Ogunleye, said that the state as a hub of industrial development, recognised that a business-friendly environment would attract more investments into the state.