Officials of Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos have begun taxing shop and kiosk owners N100,000 in order to raise revenue for the council.
The officials are led by one Mr Olamide, House Leader of the local government, on this mission.
This is coming less than one week after the Nigerian Government increased the price of petrol, a move that has generated uproar with citizens saying it would further impoverish the people.
The payment bill was tagged as ‘Demand Notice’ according to a copy of the revenue sighted by SaharaReporters.
The bill has no specified purpose of the payment or revenue item and the sum of N100,000 contravenes bills taxed on small businesses.
Some shop owners, who spoke with SaharaReporters, condemned the revenue drive, describing it as ‘pure extortion’.
A kiosk owner, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that she doesn’t sell trades of up to N10,000 daily and could not afford the payment of such amount.
“This money they are asking us to pay is too much for us. We just came back from Coronavirus lockdown and we have already paid tax to the state and local government.
“This is very ill-timed as it is coming when federal government just increased electricity and petrol fee.
“We want this our local government chairman to rethink this money they are forcefully asking us to pay,” she said.
A carpenter, Mr Mide, who was also asked to pay the sum, said the local government officials were employing forceful means to ensure payment of the revenue.
He said the officials seize properties of shop owners and asked them to pay before collecting the items.
“They came to my shop, carried my generator and said I must pay before I get it back.
“I was forced to go to their office to negotiate and pay so I can get my generator because my clients’ works were being delayed.
“This forceful taxation should be stopped considering the increase in our country’s economy. There is no money outside and instead of giving us tax palliatives, they are giving us demand notice to get money for the local government,” Mide said.
When contacted, the House Leader of Mushin Local said the revenue was brought about due to the shortfall of revenue in the council.
“We have three categories of warehouse and it depends on what they charge you for. It is even negotiable, they call it demand notice, if you are not satisfied with, you can come to the local government to negotiate.
“There is a committee that was setup by the chairman that we should generate revenue because we have downfall of revenue from that axis.
“We go around, see what they are doing and give them the bill,” he said.
When asked if the billing won’t result in multiple taxation, he said, “Multiple taxations for what? Go to 1999 constitutions, the local government has the right to collect lock-up shops and trade permits. It is just to generate money for the local government.
“It is the right of the local government to collect lock-up shops and trade permits. It is negotiable, they can come to the local government to negotiate how much they can pay,” he added.