Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Government of Abia State has announced the launch of community surveillance and testing for COVID-19 in the state, with a target of over 10,000 tests in 30 days.
The initiative comes as the state government has approved tax reliefs for residents to cushion the economic effect of the coronavirus lockdown on the people.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who flagged off the COVID-19 community surveillance and testing programme on Monday, said it is aimed at breaking the chain of transmission and stem the tide of community spread of the disease in the State.
Speaking at the Umuahia South Local Government headquarters, Apumiri Ubakala, during the launch of the programme with the theme “Breaking the Chain of Transmission of COVID-19 in Abia State through Community Surveillance and Testing”, the governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Chris Ezem, stated that the exercise should be taken seriously by the citizens.
The governor, emphasising the need for the programme to be embraced by all and given maximum support, noted that Abia was the first State in the South-East to embark on such mass community testing against COVID-19.
The governor warned that failure to observe the laid down COVID-19 rules would result in enforcing a total ban on social gatherings in the State.
The governor has also approved tax reliefs to residents of Abia State to mitigate the economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. The reliefs are in the form of Waiver/Discount.
According to a release by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, which quoted Agbara Celestine BA, Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), 15-25 per cent waiver/discount was given for different categories of tax payments spread within the year.
Tax for those seeking to obtain Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) was reduced from a minimum of N60,000 to between N30,000 to N55,000 depending on the month of payment, while for capital gains tax, tax on the value of Capital Gains was reduced from between 5-9 per cent, varied according to the month of payment.
The same was applicable to all other taxes payable in the State and the period of the tax reliefs was 2020.