Cross River State: Anti-tax Agency reduces illegal taxation by 30%
Eme Offiong, Calabar.
The Cross River State Anti-Tax Agency has reduced illegal taxation and levies by 30 percent in the last one year.
The Chairman of the agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, during a chat with newsmen in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, southern Nigeria, however, said that the major challenge to its function were local government council chairmen.
Isong noted that the council chairmen and top politicians were deliberately working against the directive of the State Governor, Ben Ayade, to alleviate the sufferings of the core poor by employing forceful and violent means to extort levies illegally and multiple taxations.
The Bishop, who is the founder and General Overseer of Christian Central Chapel International, lamented that illegal levy by the politicians were counterproductive.
“The actions of the local government council chairmen and politicians are impacting small businesses, private individuals and operators in the tourism industries.
“The State that was attracting people from other States as a tourism destination is being abandoned due to illegal taxation. In spite of their counterproductive activities, this agency has made an impact.
“We have been able to achieve 30 percent of our mandate. As a team and in partnership with relevant security agencies, we hope to keep on serving the people because the incentive of reduced tax, which is an initiative of Governor Ayade, must be achieved.
“The Governor has the interest of the people at heart and has charged us with the responsibility to ensure the people such as low income earners, artisans and small businesses enjoy this dividend,” Isong reiterated.
On further implementation of its mandate, the cleric said that the agency would partner with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish names of politicians involved in extortions.
Isong said that the agency was pursuing the partnership due to recent observations of the activities of recalcitrant tax consultants claiming to be representatives of local government councils , Ministries, Agencies and Departments of the government.
“It has become mandatory for the Cross River Anti-Tax Agency in collaboration with enforcement services such as the EFCC to issue a warning and alert unsuspecting public that the popular tax – exemption policy of Governor Ayade is still in force and remains unabated despite political and mischievous manipulations.
“I will profile the name of those politicians, who are constantly recalcitrant to the governor’s tax exemption policy and publish them for the electorate to know and reject them as part of our democratic family.
“We will be sharing the names with EFCC and publicly shame them as enemies of the people,” Isong warned.
The chairman maintained that the agency, individual members and the Anti-Tax Brigade would not be deterred by threats and other forms of intimidations by these extortionists’ council chairmen and politicians in the discharge of its duty.
He urged citizens to stand up to the hoodlums often used to perpetuate the crime, noting “we assure of our commitment to guarantee the ease of doing business in Cross River State as mandated by Governor Ayade.”