The Lagos State Government has said there is a likelihood of religious institutions engaging in business transactions to pay taxes.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Abdulateef Abdulhakeem, in a statement, on Tuesday, said though religious institutions were exempted according to the state laws, but any religious body which engages in commercial activities is liable to pay tax.
“Religious institutions are not taxable under the Lagos laws but where religious institutions engage in business transactions like schools and so on, then such are liable to pay taxes but as far as the institution is concerned, it is exempted from paying tax.
“Also, those who convert their buildings into mosque to avoid paying taxes, we have made it abundantly clear that you are not allowed to convert residential premises into religious centres. So, people should just respect God the way the Lagos State Government has respected God and do not come under that arena to avoid payment of taxes.
“What exists in Lagos State is that there is a symbiotic relationship between the Lagos state government and faith-based organisations and it is a mutually beneficial relationship which has contributed to the growth and development of the state,” Abdulhakeem said.
On why the state has not implemented a Court of Appeal judgment on the use of Hijab by schoolgirls in the state, he said the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration is awaiting the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the matter which he said is before the apex court.
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The commissioner also described as untrue and misleading, a report on the social media that the government is planning to pay religious leaders salary.
Clarifying his statement, the commissioner said: “I must have been misunderstood or misquoted. We were at a forum where we were trying to encourage religious leaders to be advocates against corruption because religious leaders have millions of adherents and they enjoy the allegiance of millions of followers and we expect them to use the pulpit and the minbar to advocate for good governance and selflessness so that they can influence their members positively.”