Lagos State Government IRS, Intensifies Efforts Using Technology, Advocacy To Shore Up IGR

By Lateef Adegbite

This is not the best of time for companies that have been defaulting in making their monthly remittances of taxes into the Lagos state accounts.  This is because abajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor, who appears to have learnt a lot from Wale Edu, a one-time Commissioner of Finance, in the state and now minister of Finance and Coordinating the Economy under the President administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Edu, the then Lagos state Commissioner of Finance, during the administration of the then Tinubu, a- two time governor of the south western state had perfected sources for the state to improve on its internally generated revenue to run the government as the state President Olusegun Obsanjo, had held up the monthly Federal revenue allocation of the state because of the friction between the two parties.

Sanwo-Olu, may have known that no amount of revenue from the Federation account to the state would be enough to complement the internally generated revenue to provide basic infrastructural facilities and deliver on his electioneering campaign promises that he had given a matching order to the state Internal Revenue Service, IRS, to continue the use of technology, advocacy to shore up the state monthly revenue.

Ayodele Subair: Lagos State Government IRS, Executive Chairman

 Ayodele Subair, the Executive Chairman of the state IRS, may have gotten the message that he has reaffirmed the renewed efforts of the revenue generating agency’’ leveraging on cutting- edge technology and effective advocacy policy to significantly enhance the state ‘s international revenue generation’’. Appearing on Channels, TVC, LTV and WAP TV, to speak on ‘’taxation’’, at different times recently,

Subairu, the Lagos state, IRS, Executive Chairman, had said that   the use of technology in the state over the years has helped the agency in ‘’optimizing its operations while also enhancing the internally revenue generation of the state’’.

The Lagos state IRS, Chairman, had lauded Tinubu, the first governor of the state and now Nigeria’s President and Commander-In-Chief, C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces, for introducing the use of technology  in the generation  of the state  revenue  which has been sustained by subsequent administrations in the state.

According to him, governors Babatunde Fashola, who incidentally, was the former minister of Works and Housing,during the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari,   Akinwumi Ambode, both past governors of the state and  Snwo-Olu, the current governor   were said to have also made  efforts  in ‘’upholding  the automy of the IRS, which was said to have  led to a notable  level of internal revenue generation in the state without  much dependence on the monthly  Federation account  allocations.

He noted that one of the first things he did since his assumption of office on September,1, 2016, was to look at the market, the tax payers, which was said have encouraged the Management Team ‘’to do some element of market segmentation, recognizing that there are some players in the market who work in an unstructured   environment, some work in a structured environment , , formal and informal sectors of the state economy.

The Lagos state IRS boss, averred that looking at the situation on ground, and found that there were Companies and some high net worth individuals, who have not been paying their taxes over the years but are always smiling to the banks to make huge deposits of millions of naira , from their businesses, forcing the Lagos IRS Management ‘’to set up  shop to make sure  that they plan to cater for the  different needs  of the different segments of the tax payers.

Hear him: Having done that, we looked at our processes, did a lot of process engineering and looked at removing  all the things  that could make the agency jobs no longer difficult. He had said that the Lagos IRS, Management also looked at the human resources and designed a who set of training programmes ‘’to ensure that everybody is accommodated and up to the task ahead’’.

He further stated that they looked at the implications of the technology thy have put in in place to recover the unpaid taxes from the defaulting companies and the high net worth individuals in the state in terms of the software: How efficient were they, how easy was it for members of the public to access and also to understand.

It was not surprising what the Lagos state IRS, Management, were said to have come with ‘’the e-tax application, described as an end-to-end tax administrative solution to address the tax crisis in the state. The Lagos state IRS, Executive Chairman, who could not hide his feelings had said that   the e-tax applications runs through the whole process, right from registration to raising of assessments, up to the filling of tax returns, making payments through the various payment channels,the ability to  print out  the receipts and at the end of the day , generate tax clearance Certificates.  He reiterated that the process has gone a long way to ease the collection of taxes in the state in the recent years.

He may have gladdened the heart of policy makers in the state that with the e-tax technology introduced in the state and the Mobile hub software to take care of the informal sector that allows   instal mental payments from members of the sector, they no longer have problems in collecting the taxes from the companies and high net worth individuals defaulting in the past years.

Subair, the Lagos IRS boss, had said that ‘’with the e-tax solution, people no longer have to troop and come to the agency office offices in the various Local government areas in the state but carry out their tax businesses, all things that had issues in the past, that had problems, that created tension between the public and staff of the Organisation   from the comfort of their homes.

It was not surprising why the Lagos state IRS helmsman could beat his chest that they expect ‘’to move the internal revenue generation of the state upwards continually’’. We are quite confident that we will get there’’, he insists.

The Lagos state IRS, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, was said to have told those cares to listen that the agency ave not relented in exploring and bring out incentive on how to leverage   fully on the cutting-edge technology to improve on the state tax collections. He had promised that the IRS, intend ‘’to set up some search unit that will delve more into the technology to see how   it can be relevant   to the agency operations and to the benefit of the tax payers 

Enough of the cutting-edge technology process in improving the tax collection in the state. The LIRS, Chairman may have shocked many when he disclosed that ‘’the use of advocacy has also played a significant role   in the state tax administration, as the agency had made it a priority to always engage the tax payers  and stakeholders ‘’to make them understand  that there is a social contract ‘’ as they expect many social amenities from the government. Appealing to the public ‘’who come to their offices in the state to file, not just file their returns but must do it honestly and the appropriate taxes when it is due’’. 

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