Distinguished, I am so glad to be a part of this very important forum.
I term it important because it is a gathering of stakeholders that presents us with the ample opportunity to discuss and cross-fertilize ideas on the critical economic ingredients that support meaningful and sustainable development.
The essence of this interactive forum, amongst others, is to establish mutual benefits.
To satisfy the interest of members of the public on one hand, in terms of economic empowerment through personal business growth, and pursuing the goal of good governance through a sustained drive towards the general good for the maximum number of our people, on the other hand.
Business appears a recurrent economic activity meant to provide financial satisfaction or other forms of benefit.
It becomes important to avail our selves with relevant information on the necessary techniques and methods that make businesses, particularly those of small and medium scale, thrive.
It is on record that small-scale businesses form 75% of the industrial make-up and strength of both the emerging and established economies like India, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Japan, and other Asian Tigers.
For this purpose, it is germane we lay emphasis on how to build our small businesses back home with tested and proven methods.
Method goes a long way to prevent trouble and shocks in businesses.
It makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have businesses on what to do and what to hope for.
At this juncture, we must however, state the obvious: the goals of business are inseparable from the goals of the whole community.
Every attempt to sever the organic unity and bond of business and the community inflicts equal hardship on both.
We must keep in mind that humanities come before naira and kobo.
Our first duty runs to man before business.
That is why this present administration in Amuwo Odofin local government has been working concertedly to pursue people-driven programmes and projects in other to create a lasting significance in the society.
From primary health care delivery service to primary education, infrastructures, agricultural development, rural urbanization, youth and sports, et al, we have and are still making statements.
For instance, within the first quarter of this year we have pursued road rehabilitation with unequal dexterity, and witnessed the rehabilitation of roads like 71, 41, 51, 711, 52, and 24 while phase I rehabilitation of the 1.3km x 8m road has been completed and put to use, as the phase II is near completion.
The Aroso market road rehabilitation is also near completion.
Our sustained free drugs and treatment to the vulnerable age group (0-16 & 60 years above) health programme is still experiencing progress; 65 persons have benefitted from our micro credit scheme aimed at alleviating poverty; our secretariat is wearing a new and better look with several office upgrades; political staff are enjoying increased motivation for improved job productivity; our youths are getting empowered through sports and other skill acquisition programmes, with N4 million voted to the development of sports in 2012 to be drawn quarterly, etc.
I must however, note that all these need to be sustained.
Certainly, these developments and other proposed projects cannot be sustained on the insufficient statutory allocations due to our local government hence, the need to pay more attention to Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that comes through the payment of taxes and levies.
Unarguably, tax remains the secret behind the conspicuous socio-economic development in advanced democracies, thus making it a heinous crime to the state to evade tax.
In Lagos state for instance, we hear of talks of the great and giant strides of the state government under the visionary leadership of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), but not much talk on the improved culture of tax payment by Lagosians.
The import of this is that meaningful and sustainable development is inversely function to payment of tax and levies.
By implication, development will fall with increased evasion of local government levies.
Consequently, despite our noble achievements so far, the objectives of this administration to bring the promised dividends of democracy to its people will be greatly threatened if the issue of local government levy is not accentuated.
For instance, the projected IGR for 2012 fiscal year is placed at N.105billion, but the actual amount accrued from the first quarter, a mere 12.38% is a far cry from our expectations, and calls for the need to step up efforts at addressing this problem.
Our community must move ahead, and the grass root government in place is positioned to ensure this objective is achieved.
It is calling on you all to give your support and complement the efforts of the government through paying of levies.
Finally, I want to once again thank you all for coming, just as I hope that this all important forum will help address the excruciating problem of levy evasion, more so, achieve its over all goal at the end.
Thank you and God bless.
Comrade Ayodele Adewale
Executive Chairman, Amuwo Odofin LGA.