ANAMBRA State Government has reiterated her readiness to capture and seal more shopping malls in Onitsha, for defying government directives in payment of taxes and levies.
The Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Uchenna Charles Okafor disclosed this in a meeting with chairmen and leaders of shop owners from Onitsha, last week, at Government House. Awka.
The commissioner expressed displeasure on private business owners in the state who flout their statutory obligations, warning that they have no escape route.
Reacting to the situation, the General President of Amalgamated Traders, Artisan Workers Association (ATAWA), Mr Ekene ThankGod Okoli complained that payment of all government fees and levies were technically left for ATAWA members alone.
The president regretted that non-members subdue, intimidate and compel only ATAWA members to pay all levies meant for the entire Onitsha North; without contributing a kobo.
He therefore called on state government to curb the excesses of these fraudulent revenue collectors who enrich themselves under the guise of government agents, to cause mayhem in Onitsha.
Mr Okoli also pleaded that government should look into enormous and endless list of levies imposed on the group, with a view to selecting genuine and approved ones to be paid.
Also speaking, the General President, Onitsha South Shop Owners Traders Association (OSSOTAN), Mr Eric Uwaoma expressed relief as state government enforcement agents sealed shopping malls that resisted him.
Mr Uwaoma recalled his ugly encounter with private business owners who fought him and his men with thugs in the course of collection of government revenue.
He then pleaded that state government should back the chairmen of ATAWA and OSSOTAN with authority letters, so that they will fish out the remaining shops owing arrears of payment to government.
One of the unit chairmen from Onitsha, Mr Jude Nwolisa urged the state government to speed up the empowerment of the chairmen so that lost IGR will be recovered.