June 13, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

Insist on service for your tax – SIDEC tells Anambra traders

3 min read

Traders across markets in Anambra State have been charged to continue to engage the state government on their charters of demands until they achieve them.

The Executive Director, Social and Integral Development Centre, (SIDEC), Ugochi Ehiahuruike, gave the charge in Awka at a one-day sensitization programme on tax policies, programs and compliance, as well as effectiveness and efficiency of tax collection methods and processes in Anambra State, organized for traders from Anambra North Senatorial District.

The event, was organized as part of SIDEC’s Tax for Service Project executed in collaboration with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and supported by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

The SIDEC Executive Director noted that 70 percent of Anambra State revenue is from the informal sector, hence the need for the government to keep attention on provision of social amenities in markets to encourage traders to comply.

“At the beginning of this project, we carried out a needs assessment in nine major markets across the three senatorial zones of the state with which we engaged the government. The aim is that if traders are paying their levies, government should provide them services (social infrastructure) that can enhance their businesses. 

“So, as the project ends today, we wish to see going forward that government justifies the money it collects from markets through the provision of those things that facilitate trade. Then, traders will pay their taxes, rates and levies without prodding. That exactly is the goal of our Tax for Service. 

Presenting a paper on IGR trend analysis, market/community Charters of Demands, Ehiahuruike noted that revenue generation in the state has risen from 8.73 billion in 2013 to 32.4 billion in 2022 before the advent of the current administration. 

“But in 2023, government generated around 40 billion naira. I want to passionately appeal to the market leaders to continue to pursue those things you have demanded in your different Charters of Demands. I don’t want this culture to end because our project has ended. Continue to”. 

In another presentation, SIDEC ICT Officer, Bruno Chinecherem, stressed the need for those charged with collecting taxes and other revenues for the government to be civil to encourage compliance. 

Speaking on the roles and responsibilities of Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team (UHBET) in the state, Nonso Arinze who represented the Coordinator in Anambra North, said UHBET’s sole responsibility is to drive revenue and enforcement of tax compliance. 

“We are trained to discharge our duty with civility. We do not condole any staff who discharges his duty in violent manner. Just last month, we made 3.1 billion naira for the government. Prior to this administration, the state never generated up to two billion. 

“I’m happy that the governor is applying the revenue very well unlike what we had before when contractors after paying government went to town to unleash all manner of violence in our people. UHBET emerged to sanitize the system. This should encourage people to pay their taxes and rates and levies,” he concluded. 

In their reactions, a legal practitioner and Assistant Secretary, Anambra State Association of Town Unions, ASATU, Paul Okoye, decried the level of banditry that goes with tax collection in the state, where government in most cases gives the contracts to people who pay to the government in advance and then go to unleash their arsenal on the people, manhandling them and injuring many in the process.

“I suggest that steps be taken to curb molestation on tax payers. Also, government must address the multiplicity of taxation. People are compelled to pay taxes on one subject matter to many agencies and revenue collectors with different coined names”. 

ASATU Vice President, Professor Charles Nwadigwe, also called for greater attention on the “so called big men who evade taxes without consequences. That is a huge challenge to revenue generation in the state. 

The chairman, Ochanja Central Market, Bonaventure Muo, appreciated the governor for doing the roads around the market which has eased off entrance to the market and appealed for attention to other needs of the market which will help to further increase ease of doing business.

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