Governor, State of Lagos, Nigeria
Focus: City Management, Reconciling Economic Policy and Institution-Building Goals
Topics: Managing illegal or informal settlement, Overcoming corruption, Building citizen support, Revenue generation
Keywords: accommodating factions, timing of reform, decentralization, staffing reform, spoilers
Interviewer(s): Graeme Blair
Country of Reform: Nigeria
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Date: Fri Aug 7 2009
Babatunde Fashola describes an overhaul of the tax collection system in Lagos that successfully increased revenue for the state and indirectly financed various other reforms. He secured public support for the overhaul after revealing the corruption in the previous tax agency through an orchestrated, public sting operation, which revealed that corrupt officials sold fraudulent tax documents on the street. He replaced the old tax agency with a smaller internal revenue service staffed by no-contract employees governed by performance incentives rather than state civil-service workers. The new service better enforced existing tax requirements and expanded the taxpayer base by introducing a simplified, single-page tax form for informal businesses.
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Babatunde Fashola Interview
At the time of this interview, Babatunde Fashola was the governor of the Nigerian state of Lagos. He previously served on the Lagos State Executive Council, State Security Council, Treasury Board, and as chief of staff for the former governor of Lagos. He received a law degree from the University of Benin, after which he worked at a private Nigerian law firm for more than decade, dealing with mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and commercial law.