ICIR report triggers reforms in Lagos transport sector

A 2021 investigative report done by The ICIR has triggered reforms in the Lagos State transport system.

In the report, which can be read here, The ICIR had found that members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other ‘agberos’ in Lagos make at least N123.078 billion annually from commercial vehicle drivers as well as tricycle and motorcycle riders.


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However, they do not render any account to the state government as no details of their transactions were found in the Lagos State financial statements.

Among these reforms is the decision by the state government to consolidate informal taxes imposed on transporters to reduce multiple taxations.

Having seen the amount of money in the sector, Lagos State government has imposed a single levy of N800 daily on commercial vehicle drivers,  as against N3000 they pay to ‘agberos’ in the state every day, as found in our investigation.

Lagos State’s Commissioner for Finance Rabiu Olowo announced this during a press briefing at Ikeja in January 2022  and described the development as an achievement occurring for the first time in the state.

He had alluded to The ICIR report, saying the new development would eliminate multiple taxes, though he did not respond to a text message and a Freedom of Information (FOI) letter on the revenue generated by ‘agberos’ earlier sent to him in the course of writing the report.

The arrangement was scheduled to commence on February 1, 2022, though it did not take effect on the said date.

According to the report by The ICIR, commercial drivers, including tricycle and motorcycle riders, pay a total estimate of N123.078 billion yearly, which was over 29 per cent of Lagos’ Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in 2020 (N418 billion).

The state government and some of its agencies such as the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) also did not respond to questions and the FOI sent by The ICIR on details of transport revenue by ‘agberos’.

Lagos has paid more attention to the NURTW since the The ICIR publication.

The state government recently suspended the NURTW due to a current crisis faced by the union.






     

     

    According to a report, the crisis has been attributed to a lack of accountability in finances generated by the union.

    Chairman of the NURTW Lagos branch Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, was suspended last week by the national body for insubordination and gross misconduct.

    His suspension escalated the tension and resulted in killings and further breakdown of law and order in the state.

    The Lagos House of Assembly subsequently discontinued all NURTW activities in the state, replacing officials of the union with a committee put in charge of parks and garages.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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