By Emmanuel Unah
A transportation firm in Cross River, Peace Mass Transit has threatened to leave the state if the trend of multiple taxes and levies imposed on it by agents of the government continues.
The Managing Director of the Company, Mr. Sam Onyishiin a letter addressed to the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr and sighted by VANGUARD said the operations of the tax agents was ruining the company’s operations.
“These persons have continually inundated us with requests for all manner of levies and taxes including those we are not owing.
“May we point out to you sir, that one sure implication of these people whom we refrain from calling touts is disruption of our business, consequently, damage to our investment and we have genuine fears that with this state of affairs, we are being forced out of Calabar and other cities in the state.”
When contacted, the Chairman of the state’s Internal Revenue Service, Dr. Ukam Edodi, said only consultants were authorised to collect revenue on behalf of the government as he warned touts harassing companies and individuals to desist from such actions.
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has in different fora said that the state cannot tax its resident to prosperity and abolished taxes for local income and no income earners. In January 2017, he warned tax collectors to desist from harassing taxpayers.
Despite these, reports of harassment of hawkers and small businesses and an oppressive tax regime by agents and parastatals of government respectively, has continuously been reported in the media with the Secretary to State Government in May 2017, saying the state is working towards a single tax payment window.
But, in December 2015, the Operation Skolombo personnel comprising of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence threatened taxi drivers who were protesting a hike in taxes; a situation which has persisted till date.