*Says It’s Not Intended To Hurt Anyone*
Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has expressed his sympathy with the citizenry saying that the new tax regime, which took effect from 1st July, this year was not intended to hurt anyone irrespective of social strata but to encourage people to perform their civic responsibilities to enable the government to generate money to provide basic social amenities.
Soludo made the clarification during a press conference at the Government House, Awka on Thursday evening. The media briefing which was anchored by the Chairman of Anambra State Internal Revenue Service Mr. Richard Madiebo alongside the Commissioners of Information, Transport and Commerce, was an ample opportunity to explain to Ndi-Anambra that the government meant well for the people and that it is in their best interest that taxes are paid in order to achieve the vision of a liveable and prosperous new Anambra.
Soludo who placated Ndi-Anambra through his aides, assured all and sundry of a tranquil atmosphere suitable for businesses to thrive while maintaining his stance that the era of all forms of illegal revenue collections and touting were over and done with; that in the present dispensation all taxes would be done directly into government accounts.
The Chairman of Anambra State Internal Revenue Service Mr. Richard Madiebo said the government had taken time to engage stakeholders and unions to explain the import of the new tax regime.
He said the government had said henceforth there would be no physical cash given to anyone in the guise of collecting revenues for the government; that all payments should be done electronically with government directives.
Madiebo said the government came up with the decision in order to create a liveable and prosperous homeland where touting, intimidation and all manner of harassment would be a thing of the past and revenues generated and collected properly for rapid economic growth as well as to make Anambra state more viable.
The Transport Commissioner Mrs. Patricia Igwebuike again reiterated the fact that the government has continued to engage the public, especially players in the transport sector that there is a dire need for them to be enumerated to enable the government to obtain data for progress.
Mrs. Igwebuike also disclosed that the government found out that Keke drivers paid closed to N2000 to touts on a daily basis but Governor Soludo according to her was benevolent enough to reduce it to N600 daily and that 5% of the N600 returns to their unions.
The transport commissioner noted that Governor Soludo upon assumption of office declared no more revenue collections in the parks and for 4 months transporters didn’t pay a dime to the government. That government has taken over the management of the parks and would employ administrators to run them.
She however stated that if citizens paid their taxes as when due, there would be revenues to construct roads as well as provide other infrastructures and the public would be able to identify Keke drivers, shuttle bus drivers and other transporters duly registered with the state government in order to guard against security breaches across the state and also track culprits.
Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner Mr. Paul Nwosu in his remarks during the media briefing said most of the agitations by transport operators were due to inadequate information or falsehoods.
Nwosu explained that henceforth government will employ strategic communications to critically explain to the general public why it is of paramount importance that they pay their taxes especially when the governor has subsidised it.
The image maker of the state government also stated that the media has a responsibility to make Ndi-Anambra understand that the policies of the Soludo administration are in their own best interests.