The autonomy enjoyed by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) will not be tampered with, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, pledged on Tuesday.
The revenue agency, the Governor disclosed, has enjoyed unrestrained independence under his watch, stressing that his administration would continue to strengthen the agency to achieve its yearly revenue targets.
Sanwo-Olu spoke while receiving leadership of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) on a courtesy visit to the State House in Alausa. Members of the Institute were led by its Chairman, Dame Olajumoke Simplice.
The Governor said his Government had fortified LIRS by prioritising the agency’s monthly subventions and motivated its personnel to drive up efficiency.
He said: “In terms of independence, LIRS has enjoyed complete freedom to operate and we are strengthening the agency for improved efficiency. This is why my administration prioritise any request from the agency. LIRS monthly allocation gets to them as first line charge and I don’t even need to approve before their overhead gets to them.
“We have made everything available in order to motivate LIRS to deliver on its mandate and we will continue to support the agency for improvement. I recently approved an increment in LIRS staff remuneration, because we know how important the success of the agency is to my administration.”
Sanwo-Olu said his administration’s tax drive was not to hurt the residents and businesses operating in the State, but the government needed to widen the tax net in order to get key promises of his administration delivered.
He praised members of the Institute for strengthening public institutions on revenue generation drive through regular capacity building and interventions that benefited the State.
Mrs. Simplice said despite the innovative approach deployed by Lagos Government in its tax administration, the State, she pointed out, could achieve improved efficiency and growth in its revenue generation.
She urged the Governor to appoint tax professionals as decision makers in strategic Government’s departments and agencies, adding that Lagos must re-invigorate its tax advocacy to capture those in informal sector.