The Lagos State Government and transportation stakeholders, which includes the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), on Tuesday, January 18, 2021, introduced and signed a consolidated levy of N800 daily for transporters in the informal transport sector in the state.
The harmonized levy which is outside the normal statutory dues collected by these unions was introduced in order, not to over-burden transporters with exorbitant levies. This was made known by the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, who at the signing ceremony and ticket unveiling at Ikeja, said that there was a need for the harmonised levy.
Olowo said that the consolidated N800 levy, which would take effect from February 1, was a phased approach to ensure the transport sector reform. According to NAN, Olowo said the state government carried out a survey 6 months ago, and as such, realised that an average transporter paid N3,000 daily as levies.
He noted that most of these daily payments made by transporters is lost to unknown agents, therefore, the need to regulate the levies and sanitise the informal transportation sector. Olowu added that the reform in the transport sector would help to get a comprehensive database of transporters for better planning.
Olowo said that the consolidated levy was an agreement by the Lagos State Government, local government, NUTRW and RTEAN and other parties in the MDAs. The commissioner said that the benefits of the consolidated levy included harmonised collection process by putting a structure in place, reducing multiple taxes, dues and levies by all agents of state and local governments.
He said the harmonised levy would eradicate harassment of bus drivers and ensure collaborative engagements among stakeholders. Speaking at the event, the Chairman, NURTW, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, said that NURTW and RTEAN agreed with policies that would ensure the development of Lagos State, however, noted that the N800 consolidated levy would not hinder the union from collecting its normal statutory levy.
The introduction of this consolidated levy would help reduce the multiplicity of levies being paid by these transporters to various agents, most of which are unaccounted for. This will also reduce various incidents of conflicts between these transporters and agents of these unions. The transporters have often complained of huge levies being collected by these unions, sometimes leading to disagreements and violence. This will also ensure better accountability of the levies collected as well as increase the revenue for state development.