In the wake of the Land Use Tax increment, one company called Alpha Beta Consulting has come under scrutiny for its involvement in the collection of the tax for the Lago state government.
In recent weeks, the Lagos state, the commercial nerve centre of Africa’s largest economy has come under intense criticisms from its residents and business community after the state allegedly increased the Land Use tax by about 400%.
While the law has not been executed, it has been signed into law and waiting for a gazette to bring it into formal execution.
While there has been a public uproar against the law and the new tax rate, critics of the government and the law have criticised the government for inserting Alpha Beta Consulting into the law.
The proposed law which showed Alpha Beta Consulting saying:
“Alpha Beta or any other designated person(s) or corporate body who has the responsibility of monitoring the incoming revenue of the state through the collecting banks, shall provide a report to the Accountant-General of the State.”
Tunde Braimoh, a member of and spokesperson for the Lagos State House house of Assembly was quoted by Premium Times, an online newspaper that: “It was a very costly mistake that should not have happened. It was erroneously put in the draft copy of the law and we’re already working to remove it completely.”
“We will remove it within the next three weeks and forward the clean bill to the governor for assent,” he said. “It is after then that the law will be gazetted and people can be able to cite it.”
“Although the bill is an executive bill, it is our job as lawmakers to vet it properly before passing it,” he said. “On this note, I accepted by (sic) own share of responsibility in (sic) the mistake.”
Unconfirmed sources claimed the company is linked/owned by the former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. While there is no proof to (sic) this allegations there is legal (sic) battle on the way to scuttle the state government resolve to go ahead with the new rates.
Alpha Beta Consulting has not made any public statement on the controversy and how it became the defacto collector for the new rate which has been hiked by more than 400%.
The state government has replied the critics and the general public that it was ready for dialogue on the matter. However, the state house of assembly (legislature) has confirmed the insertion of Alpha Beta Consulting in the law claiming that ‘it was done in error’. There was no statement on whether the law will be recalled for amendment since it has already been signed into law by the governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Investigations by our correspondents revealed that Alpha Beta Consulting had been in charge of collecting all taxes in the state for the government since the administration of Governor Tinubu.
The former governor has not made a public statement on the matter and could not be reached for comments at the time of writing this report.
The Lagos state bar association has issued a two weeks ultimatum to the state government to cancel the new rate regime or risk a public protest.
The next coming weeks would further unravel how a private company at that could have been in charge of collecting over $10 billion in tax revenue for the state since 1999.
On its website, Alpha Beta Consulting said it is a “new breed of Management, Information Systems and Technology consulting firm dedicated to providing comprehensive and value-added Information Technology solutions and management support services to financial and Public sector institutions.
“We specialise in providing professional and independent Advice and support in Information and Financial systems. Our commitment is to add value, build business advantages and engineer business change to our customers through the implementation of effective customer driven application of leading-edge IT solutions and new business methods. We aim at making our clients become more competitive in their market places and more effective in their internal operations through the implementation of effective user-driven integrated computerised systems.”
Neither its chief executive nor its top management is closely linked with the former governor, however, there are no details on how it became the only company collecting taxes for the state and whether there are proper accountability on how it carried out its duties for the state.
On its lists of clientele, the company claimed it has worked for several states across the country. It currently claim that it works for Lagos state and few other local governments in the state.