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Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has announced the suspension of tax payment for heavy-duty loading and off-loading in the transport sector.
The governor also reduced the expected weekly payments of tricycles (Keke), shuttle buses, and other transport operators.
Soludo disclosed this on Wednesday when he met transport operators and other key holders at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre in Awka, to deliberate and agree on the new modalities.
Prior to the meeting, there had been a public outcry against heavy taxation by his administration, especially among transport workers.
However, Soludo on Wednesday approved a 30 percent reduction in the weekly taxes payable by commercial Keke and shuttle bus operators in the state.
The reviewed rate will see keke operators pay N10,000 which can be broken into four installments of N2,500 weekly, instead of N15,000; taxi drivers will now pay N12,000 instead of N17,500 amounting to N3,000 weekly, while shuttle buses are now expected to pay N3,000 weekly.
Also, Mini truck drivers will now pay N3,750 weekly, while motorcycle operators will now pay N4,000, amounting to N1,000 weekly.
The governor suspended payment of tolls, taxes, and levies by heavy-duty vehicle operators across the state.
He said, “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,” Governor Soludo emphasised.
“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.”
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“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,” Governor Soludo explained.
“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,” Governor Soludo said.
“We want unions, but only unions led by operators. This will be possible once your enumeration is complete. The government will come and supervise your election, after which you will be able to choose your chairman for a specific term. We want to do away with professional lifetime unions! Unions must be run by operators.”