With the inauguration of the anti-tax agency by Governor Ben Ayade, it is clear he has the interest of the people, especially the low income earners, at heart.
This comes as part of palliatives for the COVID-19, as well as the execution of the state’s tax exemption law.
This is commendable.
Cross Riverians, especially low income earners have been at the brunt of tax burdens. Most of such tax burdens are often illegal.
It is common knowledge how low income earners have been exploited over the years. Most of them pay multiple tax because they don’t know any better or because of the intimidation by the tax agents. Most times such tax agents are fake.
Small businesses have had to face this injustice for years because they did not know what to do or have anyone to speak for them. But today, they have the highest authority in the land standing up for them.
So many small businesses have closed because of the weight of such taxes, hence this move by the governor can also be seen in the light of bolstering the economy of the state as this will ensure that most of these businesses overcome this major challenge.
Urging members of the Agency to immediately swing into action, Ayade said in part, “We charge you to ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants.
“Your responsibility from today going forward is to put and end to illicit taxes on people. We have a tax law here that prescribes the people who are exempted from tax.All those categories of people and those that from time to time will be so announced by the Governor, including every single hotel that has less than 50 rooms in Calabar and the whole state, today are exempted from payment of taxes.
“We have exempted all Okada riders, taxi drivers airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points popularly called mama put. All those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living, they have been exempted today from paying tax. We have exempted them because it is better for me as a Governor to rather task my brain, than to tax my people.”
Having an actual agency to carry out this mandate shows the seriousness the governor attaches to this humane gesture. The calibre of members of the agency, drawn from the clergy and led by the revered Bishop Emma Isong, leaves no doubt about their capacity to fulfill their important duty.
I urge the agency to go about their duty without fear or favour. I trust that they will come up with a work plan that will ensure that every low income earner is not left out in this gesture to improve their economic well-being.
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