The Cross River Anti-tax Agency has charged to ensure small scale businesses and peasant farmers enjoy a tax holiday.
Governor Ben Ayade gave the charge during the inauguration of the agency in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State.
Governor Ayade, who said the holiday was part of the state’s COVID-19 palliatives and in furtherance of its tax exemption law, insisted that the poor must be protected.
“I charge you, knowing that this responsibility comes with its own troubles, to do that which is good. The selection of this team is based on your history, it is based on your profile, the understanding of your closeness to God and that you will do that which is fair to all manners of people equally and fairly,” stated Ayade.
Illegal tax collectors
The Governor frowned at the activities of illegal tax consultants, whom he said impose unnecessary tax on the poor and vulnerable in the state and urged members of the agency to immediately swing into action.
According to him, “we charge you to ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants”.
He further urged the agency to “put an end to illicit taxes on people. We have a tax law here that prescribes the people, who are exempted from taxes”.
The Governor reiterated “all those categories of people and those, who from time to time will be so announced by the Governor, including every single hotel that has less than 50 rooms in Calabar and the whole state, today, are exempted from payment of taxes”.
Ayade abolished all tax consultants engaged to recover taxes from small businesses, stating “I have abolished tax consultants at this category. No tax consultant is allowed and I give you the powers to arrest any tax consultant you see and we will try him under the Cross River State Tax Exemption Law and jail him for putting pressure on already pressurized people”.
The Governor advised small business owners to resist illegal tax collectors, and report such persons to the anti-tax agency for appropriate action.
Professor Ayade also spelt out other micro businesses exempted from tax payment this COVID-19 period to include commercial motorcycle and taxi drivers, small saloon owners and street food vendors.
“We have exempted all commercial motorcycle riders, taxi drivers, airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points. All those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living, they have been exempted from paying tax,” he emphasized.
“This is part of my post Covid-19 response palliative to my people. So, as part of the post Covid-19 response action plan of Cross River State, we are exempting a larger part of the public from taxation,” Ayade stated.
The Chairman of the agency, Bishop Emma Isong commended the Governor for his determination to ensure the survival of small businesses and promised that the team would deliver on their mandate.
Bishop Isong said “by inaugurating this agency, your passion for the downtrodden has been proven to the world. On behalf of members of this agency, I wish to thank you immensely for the opportunity to serve”.
The agency has Bishop Emma Isong of the Christian Central Chapel International as chairman, Reverend Father Julius Ada is the Secretary, while others include Pastor John Ekpenyong and Reverend Sister Patricia Olom.
Source: Voice of Nigeria