By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The Lagos State House of Assembly has alleged that majority of the dredging companies operating in the state are not paying the required dues to the state government and in the process causing serious loss to the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
This was disclosed during plenary on Monday when Hon. Victor Akande, the Chairman of an Ad-hoc committee set up by the House to investigate the alleged illegal and indiscriminate activities against dredging companies in the state.
Akande, while presenting a preliminary report of his committee, said only one out of about 66 dredging companies in operation on Lagos waters is up to date in payment of required dues and taxes to the coffers of the state government.
Others, according to the lawmaker, have consistently defaulted in payment of dues and taxes while a number have not been paying anything at all as required by the law.
Akande said that the dredgers were denying the state huge sums of revenue by defaulting in the payment of statutory dues and taxes to the state that would have boosted the internally generated revenue of the state.
He also disclosed that all manner of people including foreigners, especially Chinese firms were engaged in dredging activities enriching themselves at the expense of the state.
While commenting on the matter, Hon. Rasheed Makinde representing Ifako Ijaiye Constituency II, expressed displeasure at the activities of the dredgers, saying they have been denying huge sums of money in terms of IGR.
Chairman, House Committee on the Environment, Hon. Desmond Elliot said the dredgers have caused the state so much damages by blocking many channels through their activities, while Hon. Rotimi Olowo urged the House to provide security for the Ad-hoc committee in the continuation of their investigations.
Olowo added that the dredgers were operating indiscriminately as some with category C approvals have been operating in category A without regard to the laws.
Akande, however, requested that the House give the committee additional two weeks to complete its work as it intends to embark on inspection tour of the dredging sites and that it would need security to do so.
The committee, which was given two weeks to submit its report when it was set up was, however, given an additional two weeks as requested by Akande to complete its investigation.
The Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, also directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to write Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and intimate him with the findings of the committee of the activities of dredgers in the state in its preliminary report.
Obasa also directed the Clerk to write to the state Commissioner of Police to provide adequate security for the committee members when they embark on inspection of the dredging sites.