The Cross River Anti Tax Agency has called on the State House of Assembly to give it legislative backing so as to eradicate the menace of multiple taxes in the state.
Speaking during an interface between members of the Agency and the leadership of the State Assembly held in Calabar on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, said they cannot succeed without the backing of the Assembly and stressed that the menace of illegal and multiple taxes is the bane of economic growth.
Isong said: “We cannot succeed without the makers of the law. The governor spoke in an executive fiat manner and we are working on the wings of that executive order. Without the necessary legislative backing, we can only bark but not bite.
“You may carry police and chase people up and down but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of law, you will lack the ingredients to prosecute and execute the policies.
“We bring our cry to you because the governor says he is exempting certain classes of people from taxation. So, we are here for you to help us generate necessary legislation to back up our activities and also give us legal legislative framework because it is not easy to fight a cartel.
“I can tell you that people are making millions daily and billions monthly from the state. These monies are not coming to the state’s treasury and emphasised that the Assembly should put an end to this bondage on the people of the state.
“People are leaving Cross River state every week because of multiple taxation. The taxation is not even the problem but multiple taxations from different people and companies many of them are not from cross river state. They come from outside neighbouring states, take the contract and they are brutal on Cross Riverians, they beat up people, enslave them and put them in bondage”, he stated.
In his response, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Eteng Jonas Williams, said the state legislature will give the agency the support it needs to succeed in its activities.
Decrying the menace of illegal and multiple taxation in the state, the speaker said: “Extortion is evil, sinful and we cannot as a government allow this.
“The Tax Exemption Law of 2015, which I sponsored exempted so many people and the amendment of the law to make sure everything is encompassed into one is in progress so as to strengthen the work of the agency”, he said.