LAGOS State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has denounced the practice whereby 50 percent of Value Added Tax (VAT) generated monthly by the state is being shared to other states of the federation.
This was as he declared that the state government was in support of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, on demand for devolution of power and the need to entrench true federalism in the country.
Governor Ambode disclosed this at the 2017 fourth quarter town hall meeting, the ninth in the series, held at the SUBEB proposed a permanent site in Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.
He contended that the clamour across the country for restructuring was not out of place, as the current political structure was hindering Nigeria’s development.
Ambode, while denouncing the sharing formula applied to the VAT, had questioned why, despite the existence of Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly, there were still attempts from the Federal Government to regulate hotels and entertainment centres in the state.
According to him, such a situation was an anomaly and should be addressed accordingly.
“We enact a law and somebody says he wants to do another law that regulates hotels inside Lagos. Is it not because of the roads that they put a hotel there? That is what devolution of power is saying. If these things are on the residual list, let local governments and states deal with them. That is all that we are asking for.
“It’s not that we will generate VAT here and somebody will be sharing 50 percent of the VAT somewhere else.
“So, obviously that is the whole idea behind this agitation for true federalism, devolution of power and the need to use it to liberate ourselves so that we can get more prosperous; so that our people can be more comfortable and it is all about the welfare of our people.
“Our people have said that we should do this work and we must be able to speak on your behalf on the things that really matter to all of you,” he said.
Governor Ambode maintained his position while responding to a question raised by a resident on calls for true federalism, saying he was in support of it.
The governor insisted that it was high time issues relating to devolution of power were addressed, adding that it was the only way more resources could be made available to the state to put in place needed infrastructure.
He wondered why Federal Government should be insisting it is in charge of inland waterways in Lagos.
“I support true federalism; I support all the issues raised by Tinubu; we are on the same page. That is the page of APC; that is where we are and that is what we are committed to.
“Like I have always said, we need to deal with issues that relate to devolution of power.
“Why should somebody be saying they are the ones in charge of inland waterways when the waterways is transporting my own people and my own services and when there is a law about it?” he asked.
transporting my own people and my own services and when there is a law about it?” he asked.
Governor Ambode, while alluding to the fact that the last four months of the year usually spring up security challenges, charged traditional rulers and community leaders in the state to join hands with the state government to wage a total war against all forms of crimes as well as drug abuse in their various communities.
He assured that his administration would not relent in its efforts towards reducing the menace, adding, however, that efforts from the traditional rulers and community leaders, who were closest to the people, were pivotal to achieving the desired result.
The governor also implored various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to increase their awareness campaign on the dangers of drug abuse, saying there was the need for them to also join the fight against all forms of domestic and s3xual violence.
Ambode commended residents for their continuous support to his administration, saying that their support had gone a long way in driving the various infrastructural development programmes implemented by the state government.
Governor Ambode also tasked chairmen of the 20 local government and 37 local council development areas to look into the welfare of persons living with disabilities and the elderly, saying that the all-inclusive mantra of his administration must be felt in every part of the state.
The governor reeled out some of the major projects embarked upon by his administration in the last quarter, which included commencement of the reconstruction of Oshodi International Airport Road, construction of Pen Cinema flyover and the opening of the DNA Centre.
Dignitaries at the event included Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, former deputy governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye; former speakers of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi Ikuforiji and Honourable Jokotola Pelumi; APC chairman in Lagos, Chief Henry Ajomale; the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu and other traditional rulers, members of the state executive council, among others.