The Lagos State Government has suspended the Executive Secretary of the the State Film and Video Censors Board, Bamidele Balogun.
This coming, following the imposing of a five per cent tax on digital platforms including Netflix and Iroko TV.
This was container in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, on Friday, titled, ‘Lagos State Has No 5% Levy on Audio and Visual Contents of Physical and Digital Platforms’
According to Omotosho, who doubles as the Spokesman to the state government, Balogun acted without authorisation and was therefore suspended.
“There is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in Lagos State. The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Bamidele Balogun, is said to have announced a five per cent levy.
“The government hereby dissociates itself from the said announcement in the media. The Executive Secretary, who was not authorised to make such an announcement, has been suspended, pending an administrative enquiry,” the statement read partly.
The commissioner said the Sanwo-Olu-led administration is not insensitive to the fact that the industry has been badly hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lagos Film and Video Censors Board had been barred by a Federal High Court from levying film and video producers.
In a judgment in June 2020, Justice Chuka Obiozor had stated that the LSFVCB could not be collecting taxes at the same time as the National Film and Video Censors Board as it amounted to double taxation.
Balogun, however, despite the judgment had written letters to several digital platforms including Netflix and Iroko TV demanding five per cent.
In a letter dated August 31, 2020, addressed to the Managing Director of Iroko TV, Jason Njoku, Balogun stated that the firm must pay five per cent on all visual and audio content.
“We hereby request for immediate payment of the five per cent levy on all audio and visual content produced, sold, distributed, marketed, exhibited, streamed, downloaded and shared across all physical and digital platform situate, lying and being within Lagos State,” the letter read partly.