By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The governor of Cross River state, Senator Benedict Ayade says his administration will not unnecessarily tax the citizenry as a means of improving its revenue generating profile.
The governor who says the state’s corporate philosophy is taking government to those who need it the most argues that the idea of taxation is not a healthy one as it not only scares investors but was also the reason why about seventy percent of the employed population are in the civil service.
Ayade stated this while addressing a team of investors led by the lead consultant Tak and Vine Advisory Services, Mrs Bola Allison who presented two revenue initiatives to the Cross River government where he stressed that his administration is one that focuses on innovations.
He said “we are a state whose corporate philosophy as a government is bringing government to the people that need it the most. We are a people who believe in the Afrocentric theory of providing a shoulder for your tired brother to lean on. If we deepen this theory, it might come to a point when there is a Kantian impression that tends to equate government and the economy in such a way that the government’s core role in Cross River State is to protect the governed.
“There is no developmental effort, no deliberate effort of raising IGR that will be premised on taxing your people to prosperity, and as a government that has a corporate conscience, at any point you put a tax, you should ask yourself what you are giving to the people in return.”
Reasoning that “I don’t believe in taxing people in order to raise money, I believe in tasking my brain to raise money”, Ayade also argued that Africans have always had ways of going through the short route and do things manually while the rest of the world task their brains and are mechanistic in production and cited an instance where a man toils for 3 months to produce a 50kg bag of rice which will sell for about 9000 Naira, while another sits in Singapore and manufacture a chip for a phone which sells for 120,000 Naira.
Describing Cross Riverians as “people who are rich in the elegance of a good lifestyle even in poverty, because we believe that lean liberty is better than fat slavery.”
Ayade also said the proposed model “won’t fit our people because we are Afrocentric and cultural, we have a heritage that is still rich and deep into our roots as people who love and care for one another”, adding that, “I represent the people who voted for me, their interest comes first, none of this is a scheduled module I can take. I will like you to come and tell me that, look, this cocoa that you have, I can produce Vaseline and export it and your people will have jobs. These options have run through my brain severally and I told myself that I will not tax my people in order to seek prosperity.”
Earlier, Leader of the team had disclosed that they were in the state to introduce the Home Certification program as a revenue initiative to the government of Cross River.
According to the lead consultant, the home certification program would regularize the legal status of the owners of buildings, provide enumeration data for town and city planning as well as improve the IGR of the state.
The team pointed out that the essence of this was to check the high level of unregistered properties across the state while bringing sanity to property development.
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