By Anastasia Mbabie and Handel Patrick (Staff Reporter)
Tricycle operators and commercial taxi drivers in Anambra State have rejected the newly introduced taxes by governor Chukwuma Soludo, insisting they would paralise economic activities of the state every day until the taxation was reverted.
Governor Soludo, it would be recalled, approved a new rate for transport sectors in the State which indicated that henceforth, motorcycle operators (Okada riders), would pay N300 daily at N7, 500 monthly, N21, 000 with a discount of N1,500 for one quarter or N40, 500 with a discount of N4, 500 for half a year.
The statement by the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AiRS), signed by the Head, Taxpayer Education and Enlightenment Team, Mrs. Sylvia Tochukwu-Ngige, added that keke riders would be paying N600 daily at the cost of N15,000 monthly, or N42,000 with a discount of N3,000 for one quarter or N81, 000 with a discount of N9, 000 for half a year.
Similarly, Shuttle/Buses’ daily pay would be N1,000 at the rate of N25, 000 monthly or N70,000 with a discount of N5, 000 for one quarter or N135, 000 with a discount of N15, 000 for half a year. The daily tax rate for taxi riders were N700 or N17, 500 for one month, N49,000 quarterly with a discount of N3,500 while N94, 500 with a discount of N11, 000 is for half a year; while N1, 200 daily is for Township Bus operators at the cost of N30,000 for one month, N84,000 with a discount of N6,000 for one quarter and N162, 000 with a discount of N18,000 for half a year. Pick up Van daily fee is N1, 000 at the cost of N25,000 for one month, N70,000 with a discount of N5,000 for one quarter and N135, 000 with a discount of N15,000 for half a year.
But the commercial road users in a multiple protests around Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia axis since Wednesday to Thursday evening, argued that the amounts were expensive for them to remit considering that they drive hire purchase vehicles.
A keke operator, Mr Ikechi Anake, explained that previously, they pay N450 everyday with exemption of Sundays, adding that Soludo’s administration tax rate of N15,000 per month was costlier to them compared to N450 been paid to Agbero everyday (excluding Sundays).
“Secondly, they asked us to register with Government at rate of N1,500, and those agberos are telling us to come and register N1,500 with them making it N3000 registration,” Anake added.
Another Keke operator, Mrs Kingsley Abbah, disclosed that why they were kicking against the new payment was because touts still collect N100 naira per trip from them as neither the government nor the police were at the parks to enforce the directives that no touts should demand another payment.
Also speaking, another tricyle operator, Mr. Collins Agu, said the new taxation would be payable by them when the government start arresting touts.
But the Chairman/Chief Executive, Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Richard Nwora Madiebo, urged the commercial tricycle operators and drivers to be considerate as governor Soludo’s intervention was aimed to reducung their daily expenses on the hands of illegal revenue collectors.
“The amount they paid on daily basis to ‘agberos’ and illegal tax collectors was double the sum to be paid digitally to the government from now. To put a final stop to this, the government made all government-owned parks free of any charge to all those that were complying with the government directive. Aside from making the parks free of charge, the government further reduced the cost they pay daily and put more money in the hands of the operators.
” The Government also agreed with the operators to give them 5% of the total collections to be paid to the unions to ensure that no other levies were to be borne by the operators. The era of multiple levies, roadblocks and personal enrichment by several interest parties has ended. The Government does not wish to fold its hands and allow the ‘agberos’ and illegal revenue collectors to take over Anambra State. Any levies and taxes to be collected by the government must be done digitally and an electronic receipt which could be verified issued.
“During the enforcement, it would be done using the electronic sticker’. The sticker, he explained will have a quick response which would be verified using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). He said that this way, these acknowledgements cannot be cloned. No government will wish its citizens to be skinned alive, molested and intimidated by anybody. Everybody was aware of the menace of the touts before now in the State,” he noted.
Also speaking, the Chief of Staff to Governor Soludo, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, urged the commercial tricycle operators to get enrolled into the system by acquiring their identity cards and other modalities, noting that the payment was lesser compared to what they were paying to touts earlier.
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