By Vincent Ujumadu
Apparently due to the controversy generated by the new tax regime in Anambra State after his assumption of office, Anambra State governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo has suspended taxes imposed on heavy duty vehicles for loading and offloading in the transport sector.
Officials of the state government, transport operators and other key stakeholders, at a meeting in Awka, brainstormed on the matter and agreed on the new payment modalities.
After the meeting,Governor Soludo approved weekly payments for tricycle, shuttle buses and other transport operators.
Accordingly, while keke operators would henceforth pay N2,500 per week or N10,000 per month, shuttle bus drivers would be paying N3000 per week or N12,000 per month, while Mini Truck drivers would pay N3,750 per week or N15,000 per month.
Similarly, motorcycle riders are to start paying N1000 per week or N4000 per month, while taxi drivers would be paying N3,000 per week or N12,000 per month.
The governor explained that the meeting was convened to inform them that he had heard their complaints about the tax collection.
The governor explained that technology would be deployed in collecting daily taxes in accordance with their demands, adding however that it would take some time to be implemented.
Soludo said he understood the concerns of the operators regarding tax reduction, mode of payment and the issue of multiple taxes, assuring them that his government was determined to institute a progressive tax system because the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the state is a party for the common man.
He said: “This government will protect and promote the common man’s interests.To make the system more equitable, we are working on comprehensive tax reform.
“Tax collection from hawkers, wheelbarrow pushers, and vulcanizers is prohibited in Anambra State.
“As a progressive government, we are determined to ensure that the poor are not burdened by taxes and that the wealthy pay their fair share. The truth is that you are paying more than your fair share.
“I understand what you’re going through. I feel and touch it, and that’s why we’re going all out to declare a total emergency on state roads to alleviate your suffering.
“It is true that the government requires funds. There is no such thing as a society that has developed without people paying taxes”.
Soludo added that Anambra’s total tax contribution as revenue last year was barely N20 billion, which, according to him, is insufficient for the massive road construction his administration had begun.
“Nobody likes paying taxes, but we’ve started a tax revolution. Our main challenge is being harassed by touts and being taxed multiple times.
“The vast majority of what you pay goes into private pockets and never reaches the government,” Governor Soludo explained.
“We called this meeting because some of the things we designed to work aren’t working as we intended.
“We want unions, but only unions led by operators.This will be possible once your enumeration is complete. The government will come and supervise your elections, after which you will be able to choose your chairman for a specific term.
“We want to do away with professional lifetime unions. Unions must be run by operators.”
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