As the battle over decentralisation of Value Added Tax (VAT) collection intensified, the Lagos State Governor, Babahide Sanwo-Olu, has educated Lagosians on why they should support the idea and reeled out impact the ideology would have on the state particularly on provision of infrastructures.
Sanwo-Olu said that if VAT is decentralised as Lagos was campaigning for, the state would redoubled its provision of infrastructure and other facilities that could boost the standard of living.
The governor noted since Lagos Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) would increase geometrically, the government would have no other option than to expend the funds on developments of Lagos.
He made the clarification on Sunday at the 61st national Independence Day Celebration service held in Ikeja, which was attended by his wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, members of the State Executive Council as well as religious leaders in the State.
Sanwo-Olu while stressing his administration’s commitment toward delivering on his campaign promises, said Lagos will do more if the State is allowed to collect the Value Added Tax.
“We should ensure there is equity and fairness and that is why we talk about issues around VAT. We know and we believe that if Lagos gets more, we would do more. If Lagos can get a lot more, we will do a lot more because that is what we deserve; that is what is expected, that is what is required and that is what we are committed to.
“Year in, year out; your government implements over 90 percent of the budget. What it means is that if we have the capacity to get more, we will be able to give more to the citizens.
“I want to assure you that this government, your government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we don’t shy away from our primary objective and responsibility, which is the security of life and property.
“As a Governor, I will do everything with every strength that I have to ensure that we set this State on a path of prosperity because I want each and every Lagosian to prosper. I will ensure that we create a Lagos that will work for the people of the State so that our tomorrow can be better than today.”
Sanwo-Olu, meanwhile, charged Nigerians to work toward the prosperity of the country, saying Nigeria could be on the path of progress if the citizens continue to display fairness, equity, and justice.
The governor, who described the theme of the service ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ as apt, said that building a nation is about people doing the right things not only once but all the time.
“We know Nigeria is going through a lot. We know that our country is going through turbulent times in our polity, management of affairs, security challenges, pandemic, unemployment, inequality, inflation, and issues that are ravaging the entire world and also affecting us. But in all of these, God remains God and He will continue to stay and abide with us.
“We all need to come together. Like the Preacher said on the pulpit, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ is all about doing the right thing not only once but doing well all the time. It is not about Mr. Governor. It is not about the commissioner. It is about all of us. It is about ensuring that we have good conduct and continually display fairness, equity and justice as people and as a nation.
“We need to admonish and encourage ourselves that as we celebrate our 61st anniversary as a nation; it is time for each and every one of us to play our parts. We are all in it together. When Nigeria prospers, we will also prosper. We need the prosperity of Nigeria; we need the prosperity of Lagos for each and everyone one of us to prosper. This is our nation and if the land prospers, we the people will prosper.”
Also speaking, the Bishop of Lagos Mainland Diocese, Rt. Revd. Akinpelu Johnson, urged Nigerians to allow righteousness to reign in the country.
Johnson also called for a new constitution that will guarantee equity and justice for all the citizens of Nigeria., just as he commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for his performance in the office within two years, especially in the area of infrastructure, considering how the incumbent administration is carrying out projects simultaneously in different parts of Lagos State.