Judex Okoro, Calabar
In what appeared as reciprocating Cross River government’s anti-tax policy, Cyclists Union on Monday embarked on filling and fixing potholes and bad spots on major streets of Calabar metropolis.
The state government had two months ago inaugurated the Anti Tax Agency to look into illegal collections of taxes, dues, levies, revenues and tolls from taxi and cyclist drivers, petty traders, market women and subsistent farmers.
With this new policy, the taxi dirvers and cyclists are now exempted from daily tickets and other levies/taxes. And in appreciation, the members in the early hours of Monday moved into Eight Miles and Marian Market axis and fixed some pot holes as well as some bad spots.
The members numbering over twenty commended Governor Ben Ayade for caring for them through his tax exemption policy.
Speaking shortly after the exercise, the leader of the Cyclists Uion, Efiok Ekpenyong Efiok, prayed God to bless the Governor for having the welfare of the low income earners at heart.
Efiok said saying cyclists in the state would continue to reciprocate government’s gesture in their own little way, appealing to the state government to try and focus attention on fixing potholes in the metropolis.
He said: “The rainy season has rendered some streets un-motorable and that the condition of roads was affecting their businesses. The Agrofeeds road in 8 Miles axis was at the verge of cutting into two. So we urge the government to do something about such bad spots before it becomes too late.”
Addressing a cross section of cyclists at 8 miles, the Chairman of Cross River state Anti-tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Gospel Isong, lauded them for reciprocating the anti-tax policy of the Governor Ben Ayade’s administration.
Bishop Isong, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, and Presiding Bishop of the Calabar-based Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI), said it is good that those who are directly affected by the harsh tax regime of the past are now having a feeling that government cared.
While making some cash donations to the group to help them buy some materials like cement and gravel for the work, the Anti tax chief said: “I have to thank you most sincerely for using this kind gesture to say ‘thank you’ to His Excellency for exempting you from taxation. We are happy that at least no one is extorting money from you unduly.
“We will continue to ensure no low income earner is made to pay any form of illegal levies in Cross River, and please don’t fail to call our toll free hotlines, 07026105177, if any one harasses you with tickets and any form of levy.”
He further explained that his agency had received the backing of all the arms of government to end illegal and multiple taxes and levies in the state especially as regards low income earners, and that the agency was working in line with the 2015 Cross River State Tax Exemption Law.
“We have a mobile court in place with a prosecutor attached to us. It is a serious crime for anybody to use illegal levies and taxes to oppress Cross Riverians who owned small shops, keke riders, petty traders, market women, cyclists and taxi drivers. Illegal taxation will end in Cross River state so that investors would come in to help grow the economy of the State,” he assured.