Anambra suspends collection of heavy duty vehicles’ tax



AN indefinite suspension has been placed on collection of revenue from heavy duty vehicles such as trailers and tankers loading and unloading in Anambra State with immediate effect.

   Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo, announced the suspension during an interface with commercial vehicle operators and government-approved concessionaires in Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, yesterday.

  Explaining the directive as part his government’s effort to avoid double taxation, Prof. Soludo said that the suspension period will also enable all parties to return to drawing board and work out modalities of enforcement of revenue administration in line with international best practices.

  Gov. Soludo also approved weekly payments applicable to tricycle (keke), shuttle buses and other transport operators.

  While keke operators will now pay N2,500 per week or N10,000 per month, shuttle bus drivers will pay N3000 per week or N12,000 per month and mini truck drivers to pay N3,750 per week or N15,000 per month. Similarly, motorcycle riders (aka okada) are to start paying N1000 per week or N4000 per month, while taxi drivers will now pay N3,000 per week or N12,000 per month while tax collection from hawkers, wheelbarrow pushers, and vulcanisers is also prohibited.

  Describing the interface as a forum convened in response to complaints by transport operators about by government’s method of tax collection, Prof Soludo also said the new policies show he understood their concerns or agitations, from rate reduction, mode of payment (whether daily or weekly) to issues of multiple taxes.

  According to Mr. Governor, his government is determined to make Anambra’s tax system remain progressive because APGA is a party for the common man.

  “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. Last year, Anambra’s total tax contribution as revenue was barely N20 billion, which is insufficient for the massive road construction we have begun, let alone other sectors. 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. We called this meeting because some of the things we designed to work aren’t working as we intended. When we organised open bidding for concessions, we agreed that old prices would remain the same, but operators are complaining about price increases that are not part of the agreement, so it’s a major concern. We want unions, but only unions led by operators,” Mr. Governor said.

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