By Temitope Ajayi
Imagine if Lagos gets N15trillion annually from traffic fines. That is more than the combined Federal Government budget for 2019 and 2018.
You think it is not possible? Now see the numbers.
Khaleej Times, a leading newspaper in UAE reported that in 2017 alone, Abu Dhabi one of the 7 emirates issued 4.6 million traffic fines. UAE population is 12million. It was reported the UAE generated about $35b from traffic offences more than what the country generated from oil sales in 2017.
The amount of money UAE, a country of 12million people generated from traffic fines in 2017 is more than Nigeria’s crude oil revenue in 2020, the money the whole country depends on for sustenance. Traffic fines represent 10% of the total GDP of UAE. Now, we can see how UAE is able to fund their 7 wonders of the world projects we all love to see in Dubai.
London is said to generate over £20b per annum in traffic fines too. Over 80 cities in US generate more than 50 per cent of their annual budgets from traffic fines.
Let’s take UAE as a case study in relation to Lagos. A country of 12 million people generates $35b from traffic fines. It is, therefore, not surprising why UAE can fund its first world development status and build best in class infrastructure.
For strange reasons, Lagos with estimated 20m population is reeling from the burden of underdevelopment with shambolic infrastructure and poor revenue profile. Lagos State 2021 Budget is N1.1trillion. At best this budget will perform at 80% on both revenue and expenditure sides.
What that means is without borrowing and monthly Federal allocation, the state will struggle to do N500b Internally Generated Revenue from all its revenue sources where there is an untapped goldmine in traffic fines that can give the state over N10trillion per annum. We will have our Blue and Red line metro rail lines, world class roads, top notch healthcare services, functional education etc if Lagos government can collect just 50% of revenue from daily traffic offences.
I told a senior official of the state last week that the government should find a way to optimise and automate payment from traffic offences to boost revenue to fund development. In any case, Lagosians pay for traffic offences every day just that the money does not go to government coffers. The fines are paid into private pockets as bribes to officials of VIO, LASTMA, FRSC and Police officers who are meant to enforce the traffic laws.
Once government can automate apprehension of traffic offenders through technology using cameras that can capture offenders’ vehicle plate numbers and human discretion is removed from payment of fines, the state government will solve the revenue problem it faces and will be able to conveniently fund key development priorities.
To make this happen, government only need to get the private sector and some of the technology companies to partner with and have the political will to make it happen.
Tope Fasua in an article sometimes in 2019 wrote about an American Economist who came to Nigeria for a research work. The American was in Nigeria for the first time ever. From Murtala Mohammed Airport to his hotel in Victoria Island, the American saw countless of traffic offences that were brazenly committed by motorists on Lagos roads. The American then asked to know how our govts get money to spend if people dont pay for these traffic offences.
Our journey to development seems far till our govts especially States and local governments can do simple things like making people pay for traffic offences.
You want to share a story with us? You want to advertise? You need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp – +234 803 3018 881