Bamidele Balogun will face an administrative enquiry, according to the state government.
The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Lagos government says a recent move to tax content producers in the state was unsanctioned.
The Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board (LSFVCB) had announced in August 2020 that all audio and visual contents produced and sold within the state would attract the payment of 5% levy on each item.
LSFVCB Executive Secretary, Bamidele Balogun, said it was part of the government’s comprehensive policy initiative to improve the entertainment sector.
Even though the announcement early in August received backlash online, the government failed to respond to it, with Balogun doubling down on the merits of the policy.
The outrage resumed on Thursday, September 3 after iROKOtv CEO, Jason Njoku, posted a letter addressed to him and signed by Balogun demanding that he pay the 5% levy within seven days.
I wonder if @NetflixNaija @FilmhouseCinema and @YouTube got one of these. Or just us card carrying patriots. 🇳🇬🙏🏾. Let me go for a run 🏃🏾♂️and then sleep. I will deal with this one tomorrow 😴. pic.twitter.com/gz0m4D6Bl4
— JasonNjoku (@JasonNjoku) September 3, 2020
In reaction to the outrage, the Lagos government announced in a statement late on Friday, September 4 that Balogun has been suspended because he had no authority to make the decision he made.
“The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration is not insensitive to the fact that the (entertainment) industry has been badly hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and empathises with this and other sectors of the economy,” the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said.
The commissioner reiterated that there is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in the state, and that Balogun will face an administrative enquiry.
Balogun, LSFVCB boss since 2013, had also asked content producers in the state to register their products through the board’s authorised agent within 30 days.
The 54-year-old said the initiative would assist the government in policy formulation with regard to planning and funding for the entertainment sector.