By Eyo Charles, Daily Trust
Men, who claimed to be officials of Local Councils in Cross River State, have manhandled shop owners, traders, hawkers and market women for daring to resist payments of rates and levies in the Mbukpa markets and Ambo axis of Calabar South Local Government Area of the State.
Two weeks ago, Governor Ben Ayade inaugurated and charged the Cross River Anti-Tax Agency, headed by Bishop Emmah Isong, to enforce exemption of low income earners from payment of all forms of taxes.
Sunday afternoon, men who claimed to be rates collectors from the Local Government Council and agencies, invaded the local markets, insisting that the women must pay the daily rates otherwise they would not be allowed to sell anymore.
They insisted that payment levies were not part of what Governor Ayade directed that low income earners, including market women, artisans, and junior Civil Servants, should be exempted from.
One of the traders in the market, who gave her name as Mrs. Akon Etekamba, said the boys usually invade the market to force them to pay money.
“This afternoon, they seized goods from hawkers, harassed and beat up two women who reminded them that the Governor has exempted them from paying assorted rates and taxes.
“The boys then asked the women whether the Governor doesn’t need money to provide public utilities.”
Eunice Takon said the rates collectors were still visiting her shop on Mbukpa road to ask for payments.
Reacting, Chairman of the Anti-Tax Agency, Bishop Isong, frowned at the action of the men.
He said: “This is not acceptable as the act is against the State Tax Exemption Laws.
“We frown at such flagrant abuse of laws and directive.
“It is sad that in spite of the Governor’s directives to end illegal taxation in the State, some proscribed agencies, unions, LGA revenue staff, individuals and tax consultants are still taking it upon themselves to continually extort from innocent citizens.”
He warned that those still engaged in the illegal collections of taxes, dues, levies, tolls and revenues from “Keke-Napep, taxi drivers, hawkers, market women, shop owners and small scale businesses shall be prosecuted by the law if caught.”
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.