A Lagos based Lawyer, Mr Francis Ogunbowale, on Wednesday, described the newly announced N1,000 Proof of Ownership Certificates on Vehicles, as being double taxation.
Ogunbowale, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), spoke in reaction to the recent announcement of N1,000 annual Proof of Ownership Certificate (POC) verification of vehicles.
Recently, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation disclosed at a press conference, that the state had begun implementation of payment of N1,000 annual POC verification of vehicles.
Among other reasons,, government had said that the policy would enhance transparency, security and accountability within the transportation network;
It said that the policy would streamline and enhance the process of vehicle ownership verification; and serve as official documentation for the legal owners of vehicles;
Ogunbowale, in his reaction, said the disclosure was not only strange, but also came as a shock and a bitter pill to swallow on the eve of the Sallah celebration.
He told NAN that where the details of a vehicle had not changed, the newly introduced payment was simply unecessary and amounted to double taxation.
“What obtains before now is that where the information of a vehicle did not change, payment for PoC verification annually will be grossly unnecessary and exploitative.
“It will amount to double taxation in the face of payment for vehicle license that is renewable every year.
“The National Road Traffic Regulation No. 101, Vol. 99, 2012 (as amended) under which the Joint Tax Board resolved to introduce payment of annual POC renewal, did not provide for any payment or verification of POC every year,” he said
Ogunbowale noted that the reasons given by the government to justify this payment also does not add up.
“The truth is that a one-off payment of POC with data carefully stored in the computer hardware of the Ministry of Transport platform, is capable of promoting transparency, security and accountability desired within the transportation network.
“Rather than overburden the vehicle owners with additional annual payment of N1,000, government can enhance the already existing vehicle ownership verification strategy, by deploying a very simple technology and hardware, which transport officers can use to verify through mobile gadgets, as done in other climes.
“There is nothing wrong in the official documentation of a legal owner of a vehicle through the issuance of custom papers and Vehicle License that usually contain particulars of both the owner and the vehicle.
“The issuance of POC should not be an annual event and payment, except government deliberately wants to increase the internally generated revenue at all costs, not minding the needless pains to the citizens,” he said.