By Our Correspondent
Worried by the current economic realities in the country and its overbearing impacts on the ordinary citizens of the state, Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has abolished all forms of taxation and levies on low income earners in the state.
Affected by the tax exemption are those earning below N50,000 monthly, all taxi, tricycle, wheel barrows, and motor cycle operators as well as petty traders and hoteliers.
Governor Ayade who made the disclosure shortly after signing the 2017 appropriation bill of N707 billion, christened: “Budget of Infinite Transposition” into law at the State Executive Council Chambers, Calabar said: “In 2017, we reemphasize the obvious need to put an end on pressurising the low income earners in the state with regards to taxes.
“Let me state here and very clearly too that in Cross River State today, we have put an end to any taxi driver, cyclist or okada rider being made to pay any form of tax. This is so because we want them to have disposable income that can keep the economy spinning. That is one fast-track way order than putting a pay cheque on their table. We can create opportunities where government’s burden is taken off them permanently.”
He therefore warned: “I am therefore sounding the last warning that henceforth; I don’t want to hear any one who earns less than N50,000 a month being taxed in any form in the state.
“In the same vein, I don’t want to see a hotel that is struggling to survive with challenges of diesels being chased after by government officials for taxes.”
Accordingly, “I have warned any body who is still collecting money from these people to desist forthwith,” adding that “I have seen poverty in my personal life and I know what that small N2, 000 means to them.”
Rationalising the need for the abolition of the taxes and levies for these category of citizens, considering its impact on the Internally Generated Revenue (GIR), Ayade explained: “It is clear to emphasis here that at this point, no nation, no state and no administrative authority can tax her people to prosperity,” stressing that “God has given us an elevated platform of authority to use our intellects and support them and not to suppress them.
“Why will government put a burden on people who earn less than a thousand naira a day with wife and children, shopping in the same market with the rich who earn over 300 thousand monthly?” Ayade queried
According to him, “I will rather tax my intellect to prosperity rather than taxing my people because we have sufficient education, exposure and experience which we need to bring to bear for the prosperity of our people, which is why they elected us.”