· Count us out of FCT ALGON agreement – AMAC
· Warns residents against paying to DOAS
By Sarah NEGEDU
It appears that the tussle between the FCT Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS, and the area councils over rights to haulage collection may not be ending anytime soon, as some councils are sticking to their rights to revenue collection.
This is in spite of an earlier commitment by the chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, Hon. Danladi Chiya, to support DOAS in streamlining revenue collection across the six area councils.
DOAS had on November 29, launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year, to harmonise tax collection in the territory.
The FCT permanent secretary, Adesola Olusade, while unveiling the permit, said the initiative will end the era of double taxation and also improve the ease of doing business in the territory.
He, therefore, commended the leadership of the area councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system, stressing that the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue for the FCT.
The chairman of Kwali Area Council, Hon. Danladi Chiya, who spoke on behalf of chairmen of the six area councils, said although the councils have the constitutional right to collect such revenue, they have no issue with the FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.
Chiya, who is also the FCT ALGON chairman, said that the councils have thrown their weight behind the new initiative as no meaningful development can be achieved without synergy.
“By the grace of God, we are going to put our heads together to synergies and fill up the vacuum that may be existing between the councils and FCT.”
In a twist, however, the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, last week, distanced itself from the commitment made by the ALGON chairman on behalf of the area councils, as they maintained that the decision to cede the rights to revenue collection was not a collective one.
The Senior Special Assistant to the AMAC Chairman, Kingsley Madaki, told The Abuja Inquirer that Hon. Christopher Zaka, Chairman of AMAC, is the one with the constitutional right to make such decision on behalf of the council.
He pointed that the AMAC chairman was not at the launch of the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits and, “If a collective decision is to be made, you will see the presence of all the area council chairmen.”
Madaki maintained that AMAC, as affirmed by several court rulings, has the constitutional right to collect mobile advert, adding that, “the area council has the manpower and technical knowhow to collect its own revenue and so there was no going back on it.
“AMAC in this new regime will not concession it powers to DOAS to aid it collect revenue on mobile adverts. The council, despite facing dwindling and drop from federal allocation, will turn to its internally revenue avenues in order to deliver its promises to the electorate, especially in the rural areas.”
AMAC had last Thursday, vowed to no longer tolerate the double taxation of businesses in the council by the FCTA.
The Senior Special Assistant on Community Development to AMAC Chairman, Yusuf Ahmadu, told the media that it was wrong for the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage in the FCTA to be collecting mobile advert in AMAC, “without the knowledge of officials in-charge of tax collection.”
He said, “Based on a recent Supreme Court ruling, nobody or establishment has the power to transfer the authority of the area council or power to collect revenue for a third party.
“We, therefore, call on AMAC residents, mobile advert customers not to pay any money to FCTA Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, else they will pay two times,” he threatened.
In his defence for harmonised revenue collation, the Director of DOAS, Dr Adam Babagana, said state governments have in the past, set up systems like the Universal Basic Education Board, UBEB, to allow for better implementation and administration of local governments functions.
Babagana, in a chat with journalists, last Wednesday, acknowledged that the only fundamental problem hindering DOAS from achieving success is the lack of the legal framework that will enable the agency function like other signage advertisements agencies found in 26 states of the federation.
He said the state signage advertisements agencies were created despite knowing that advert collection is function of the local government.
“Just like primary education is the function of local government, but for better implementation and administration, these states then created outdoor advertisement agencies in 26 out of the 36 states and FCT. If 2/3 of Nigeria can do such and it is still thriving and with several court judgements ratifying that the establishment of outdoor advertisements agencies by state governments is not contrary to any provisions of the constitution. If it is, then other initiatives that state governments have come together to do, like the UBEB which is the function of the local government, should have been an aberration.”