The Lagos State Government has signed an agreement for the collection of what it called “Consolidated Informal Sector Transport Levy” designed to harmonise dues collected by the government from commercial motorists at parks and garages.
The agreement was signed between the state government, local government, various transport unions and some government agencies.
According to the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, the levy pegged at a flat rate of N800, covers monies for the local government, clearing of waste from the motor parks, which was being paid to the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), and pollution, dues which were collected by Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), among others.
According to Olowo, personal income taxes of the drivers will also be deducted from the N800 levy which commences with immediate effect.
With this harmonised levy, each commercial bus driver is expected to pay N800 daily, which accumulates into N24,000 monthly and N292,000 in a year.
Though, the harmonised levy introduced by the government does not affect tickets issued by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of NURTW, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as ‘MC Oluomo’ explained that the Union, in collaboration with the Road Transport Workers Union, (RTEAN), had approached the State Government to consolidate the fees collected by different LGAs and agencies to make collection easier for the government.
He clarified that the new development affects only government levies but has nothing to do with the union dues charged.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Toyin Fayinka, stated that the development is the phase one approach towards total restructuring of the transport sector; saying it is expected to bring sanity to motor parks in line with best practices globally.
The Finance Commissioner admitted that the bulk of monies collected as levies before now is lost to unknown agents.
He disclosed that research has shown that an average commercial bus pays at least N3,000 as due per day while some buses pay as high as N8,000 to N9,000.
While he described the new development as a form of revenue assurance, he assured that it would have a strong implication on reduction of levies paid by bus drivers at different points/parks before now.
He also said that it will drastically reduce the suffering of the people as it is expected to reduce the cost of road transportation.