The Commissioner for Finance for Lagos state, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, has outlined some of the measures the state government has adopted to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Olowo listed the measures while giving the scorecard of the Ministry of Finance at a press briefing to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in Lagos recently.
The measures include management and control of dedicated funds for COVID-19 response, granting principal and interest moratorium for MSMEs with loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF); extension of tax filing as well as timely payment of hazard allowance and arrangement of special peril insurance for frontline health workers and volunteers.
According to the Commissioner“Lagos State achieved 106 per cent performance in first quarter of year 2020 revenue as against budget.“However, with COVID–19 and the dwindling oil price is a twin-shock to Nigeria, we expect that the revenue numbers will be affected, hence the need to review the full year 2020 budget assumptions.”
He said although due to the impact of the pandemic, the state was expected to record drop in its internally generated revenue, drop in federal allocation as well as a decline in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the state government had in swift response re-ordered its full year 2020 Budget and re-prioritised its capital expenditure to reflect current realities.
In addition to the the re-ordering of the 2020 budget, the Commissioner disclosed that initiatives like FORCE (Focus On Revenue Creation Everywhere), which was conceived to monitor, review and drive innovative revenue performance whilst providing revenue assurance have been put in place in the last one year.
Olowo also said that the Land Use Charge (LUC) reform was necessary to accommodate the agitations of Lagosians and to reduce the financial pressure on citizens.In his words “As we are aware in 2018, there was an increase in LUC rate and at the same time a revaluation of properties; this twin-shock had a sporadic increase in LUC assessment. The soon-to-be revealed reform will among other things, reverse the rate to pre-2018 rate.”
Other measures like the deployment of E-Tax platform for tax operations and administration matters and the automation of the operations of Lagos State Lottery Board aimed to improve convenience in the payment of taxes thereby promoting compliance and guaranteeing sustainable revenue optimisation to allow for the state to finance infrastructural projects that would improve the lives of Lagosians, create jobs, stimulate the economy through government spending.
The Commissioner restated the State Government’s commitment to ensuring that economy activities going on while also ensuring safety and wellbeing of the citizens and at the same time ensuring that the present financial hardship confronting all sectors of the State’s economy is tackled in the best way possible.