The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has been advised to review its planned ban on the importation of cars by road.
The FG was advised to overhaul the customs and excise instead as it is feared that the policy would affect the income the government is generating from vehicles and make life difficult for the masses.
Speaking in an interview with LEADERSHIP, a lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Abiodun Tobun stated that importing cars through land borders is okay, but that the government only needed to put more infrastructure in place and overhaul the Nigeria Customs and Excise.
Tobun, who is representing Epe Constituency 1 in the assembly, said further that if importation of vehicles through land is banned, then only few vehicles would come into the country.
“Money from hackney permit and vehicle license would reduce, import duties would reduce, so it is a wrong policy. They might have done it for security reasons, but what are the duties of customs and excise.
“Rather than doing that, the customs and excise should be sanitised, while the bad eggs should be flushed out,” he said.
On how the country could get out of recession, The lawmaker, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, said that the Federal Government should look into its economic team and see how to end the economic problems in the country.
He explained that if the government is fighting corruption and the economy does not improve, people would cut corners to put food on their tables.
He stressed that the government should put measures in place to make the economy better.
“All the watertight policies that make it difficult for people to survive should be reviewed.
“During the era of the past administration, things were not as bad as this despite the allegation that they were corrupt, now that we say the government is not corrupt, things should be better,” he said.
Commenting on the 2017 budget of Lagos State, which is about N813 Billion and the biggest by any state government in Nigeria, Tobun said that it is meant to enhance the speedy infrastructural development of the state.
According to him, it is a budget that tends to enhance security of life and property, improve education, provide infrastructure, good health and that it would ensure that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Board that was newly constituted is properly funded.
He said: “Based on that, the budget is realisable because LIRS generates about 71% of the revenue, while capital receipt would take certain percentage. Lagos State is now part of Oil Producing States and we are expecting 13% derivation from the Federal Government, which will give us over N1 Billion every month.
“So, it is a realisable budget and we need to encourage the people to pay their taxes as expected and we will generate the fund. “Also, we have just approved N500 Billion to the state government, but they have not been able to access it.
“By next year, they would take the first tranche, which is about N100 Billion. With that, it is sure that the revenue is realisable. “The budget would ameliorate definitely poverty. If infrastructure is provided, security oof life and property is ensured as we are currently doing, investors would be attracted to the state and it would lead to more employment.
“Once there is security, people would be more productive and there would be foreign investment.
“Access to raw materials and nearness to market would be guaranteed, more people would do businesses and more people would pay taxes. With what the budget would provide, there would be prosperity for all.”
On Works and Infrastructure in the state, the lawmaker said that the performance of last year is about 91%, and that the allocation for next year is about N68 Billion.
He revealed that N13 Billion has been allocated in the 2017 budget for further job on Lagos/Badagry expressway, and that the state government would complete the overhead bridge in Abule Egba and Ajah, and start that of Pen Cinema Agege, rehabilitate roads in Epe axis, provide more pedestrian bridges and complete on-going ones.
“The multi-level building in Alausa and the one in Apapa would be completed. The government is trying to construct as many roads as possible,” he said.
Tobun however, defended the proposed Pension Law for those who serve as speaker and deputy speaker in the Lagos State house of assembly.
He emphasised that the law was actually meant to be for all the lawmakers for, according to him, having served the state meritoriously.
“We decided to restrict it to the speakers and deputy speakers. So, it is a welcome development, afterall the Governor, Deputy Governor, President and Vice President have pensions and they all went in through joint-tickets.
“If they work for four years and enjoy life pensions, why can’t the speaker and his deputy enjoy same,” he said.