Some traders in Enugu State, weekend, called on the state government to reconsider its tax regime to avoid closure of businesses in the state due to unfavourable environment.
According to them, the state government recently introduced daily levies of N200 without consideration that businesses have nosedived due to some harsh economic policies of government.
“Since the day President Bola Tinubu was sworn in, and his removal of fuel subsidy, businesses are no more favourable because people groan under harsh economy.
“While we continue to rue the ugly situation, Enugu State government has chosen to launch a next tax regime as well as this N200 daily charge of traders,” Johnson Ozioko, a trader at Ogbete Main Market, told our correspondent.
Our correspondent gathered that traders across the state have been communicated about the development.
A trader at Ikpa Market in Nsukka, Thaddeus Egwu, said, “We were told about the daily levy yesterday during our monthly prayers. Nowadays, we hardly make gains. Shops could be opened for the whole day, and nobody comes to buy anything. And the government that has not done anything for us is imposing daily levies on us. It is simply insensitivity.”
A trade unionist, Godwin Nnadi, said, “There is nothing wrong with that, but the traders are yet to see the presence of government in terms of infrastructure. The road to Ikpa market is an eyesore when it rains. Instead of addressing urgent needs to make businesses thrive, the government is imposing levies. If they want to increase the state IGR, let them first reduce the cost of governance.
“The fuel they waste alone in moving their convoys can save the economy of the state. Traders will surely resist that levy.”
Market leaders contacted for comments refused to be quoted and mentioned, but unanimously stated that they would resist the daily payment of N200 to the state government.
The state government earlier streamlined its tax regime aimed at boosting its economy.
According to the Executive Chairman of the Enugu State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Emmanuel Nnamani, by the new formula, all the taxes, such as business registrations, environmental levies, and all local government taxes on businesses operating in the state would be built into e-ticketing and paid yearly.
Another charge recently launched in the state is Land Use Charge where every house would be asked to pay. Nnamani said the idea was to grow the state GDP from $4.4bb to $30bn, adding that it would not be realised ‘when people are not paying taxes’.
The chairman said, “No economy of any nation or state can grow as expected without citizens paying their taxes. If you keep giving tax waivers to people and organisations, you are denying the citizens development.”
He said citizens of the state who fail to pay their taxes would no longer have access to the state government services, such as education, hospital, and water supply “because for you to enjoy such amenities you must provide evidence of tax payment, as it would no longer be business as usual.”
He said the new system was going to create employments as it would be handed over to agents. He added that the state government had concluded arrangements to engage 500 enforcers to help in enforcing the new system outside the agents who would also engage a lot of hands in e-ticketing across the state.
The state government would soon discuss with traditional rulers and presidents general of all the communities on how they would be paying to enable government to do the necessary developments in their various domains.