We banned agents from levy collection to promote commerce in Abia – Ikpeazu


The decision to ban agents from levy collection in Abia State is aimed at eliminating multiplicity of taxes and to encourage fresh investments into the State, says Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

This is sequel to the call by the South-East Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SECCIMA) a regional chamber of commerce to the South-East Governors to harmonize taxes, to reduce tax burden on entrepreneurs.

SECCIMA also decried the activities of touts, who pose as Government officials to extort money from company drivers and in some cases, impound their operational vehicles, thereby distorting free movement of goods within and out of the region.

John Udeagabala, president of SECCIMA told Cityfile in Owerri, the Imo State capital that manufacturers and other service providers are still faced with multiple taxation and urged the various State Governments to dismantle all impediments to free movement of goods and services to promote commerce in the region.

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Consequently, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, observed that tax increase scares investors and reiterates the commitment of his administration to harmonize taxes, to encourage investments into the State.

Although he stated that the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) can decide to share some of their powers with those they trust can do the job, he noted that the current State’s policy is that all revenues should be paid through commercial banks.

“That is all we need to do, to cut the leakages and make sure that taxes are not paid to wrong people or to individuals. The issue of using agents for tax collection will no longer exist in Abia.

“They can interface with the Board of Internal Revenue to see ways and avenues they can key into the new system, because there are models that can give them a role to play, which will not entail a direct contact with the people, in terms of touching money, “he said.

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Recall that the Abia State Government in an effort to rid the State and especially Aba, its commercial hub, of touts and illegal revenue collectors, ordered the sealing of the premises of Ministry of Works, along Ikot Ekpene Road and Fire Service Station at Constitution Crescent, Aba.

The two premises served as operational base for touts, who masquerade as agents of Government to defraud innocent citizens and the State.

Consequently, Governor, Ikpeazu, directed police authorities in Aba to move all illegally impounded vehicles at the two locations to the Aba Area Command, where owners of the vehicles were asked to go for identification and collection of their vehicles, at no cost.

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The Governor also directed a special task force made up of Government officials and men of the Nigerian Police to arrest members of any illegal task force, fake revenue agents and touts extorting money from motorists at railway crossing, along Factory Road and other locations at the commercial city of Aba.

The Governor warned that going forward, all those engaged in any form of illegal extortion of money from motorists and residents of Aba and Umuahia would have themselves to blame when caught.

He also warned that any civil servant found collaborating with the extortionists would be dealt with according to the law and urged Abians and residents to be vigilant and report suspected fake revenue agents to the nearest police station.

Source ~ Business Day, Abacityblog


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