From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State Anti Tax Agency has raised the alarm over the nefarious activities of illegal revenue agents, describing them as economic saboteurs.
In a statement dated March 18 and signed by the chairman of the Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, and made available to journalists in Calabar, he said expressed worry that even when there is a law prescribing illegal taxation, tolls and levies on market women, petty traders and small scale businesses in the state, some of these illegal tax operators are still having their ways under the guise of generating revenue for the state government.
Isong, who doubles as the National Publicity Secreatry of PFN, said in spite of the good intentions of Governor Ben Ayade to make life more meaningful for the poor Cross Riverians, who are daily struggling to eke out a living, some unpatriotic revenue collectors have continued to exploit the poor market women, petty traders, taxi and keke drivers under the guise of generating revenues for the state.
According to him, these illegal tax operators have created all kinds of revenue points for themselves and their masters just to feather their business nests.
‘It is very worrisome that even after the Agency had had series of meetings with relevant agencies of government on the modus operandi of tax and levies’ collection, there appears to be infractions on the part of some agencies, thereby causing some untold hardship to small scale business owners, petty traders and taxi drivers alike,’ he said.
‘The Agency frown at a reported case of a case of a tragic incident which occurred March 18, 2021 at the Municipal in which one Chuks, in a trending video, was dehumanised by an illicit tax operator’s in Calabar, is despicable.
‘We further frown at another reported case where one Mrs chukwuma, a widow with 4 children leaving at 8 Miles, was allegedly manhandled and her goods impounded by hoodlums masquerading as tax collectors and given 7 days to pay up or lose her goods.
‘These acts are not only condemnablebut capable of teunxating the low income earners exemption tax relief policy of GovBen Ayade, who had issued series of warnings to these perpetrators to desist from such inhuman act of extorting hard-earned money from the poor Cross Riverians.’
He explained that the Agency, whose scope of operations among others include protecting the poor of the poor in the area of extorting money and protecting their businesses, is totally committed to ridding the state of such illegalities and would not fail to prosecute offenders in line with tax exemption laws of the state.
He called on on all governemnt agencies in charge of revenues to carry out their functions in accordance with the laid down best practices to give succour to our poor citizens just as he assured Cross Riverians
that enforcement team has been put in place and defaulters would face the wrath of the law.