By Christian ABURIME
It is expected that the introduction of a new tax regime that will streamline tax administration processes in Anambra state will bring about sanity and accountability in tax payments State
Over the years the State has suffered leakages and largely unaccountable system of tax remittances to the State Government. This drawback has impinged rather sadly on the ability of the State to generate enough internally generated revenue to undertake capital projects that will impact positively on the lives of the people
Poised to deliver on his mandate and working to beat ‘measured’ time, the Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led administration has continued to reel out innovative measures to make life more decent and meaningful for the greater Anambra publics.
In fact, in advanced commercial climes, failure to comply with tax obligations might just mean the beginning of the end for the system to operate optimally. In a world of constant drive for economic and fiscal efficiency, individuals and corporations usually seek beforehand, the opinion of relevant tax authorities on the tax incidence and liabilities applicable to specific transactions or commercial arrangements. This is part of where Governor Soludo is headed; to enthrone a decent system in Anambra State where Ndi Anambra are the ultimate beneficiaries. Just like any other reforms, It comes with challenges and sacrifices.
After embarking on due consultations with relevant stakeholders and members, the present administration introduced what was considered as minimal levy for tricycle operators (keke), shuttle buses, a move that will eventually become beneficial to all actors. After careful thought process, Anambra state government asked keke riders to start paying fifteen thousand (15,000) naira on monthly basis. This amount equals about six hundred (600) naira, daily for twenty five (25) days. Five (5) percent of the sum will still go to the keke union after collection for the month. Similar thing is applicable for operators of shuttle buses who agreed to pay twenty five thousand (25,000) naira monthly.
According to the new rate, motorcycle (Okada) operators pay N300 daily at N7, 500 monthly, N21,000 with a discount of N1,500 for one quarter or N40,500 with a discount of N4, 500 for half a year. Keke riders pay N600 daily at the cost of N15,000 monthly, or N42,000 with a discount of N3,000 for one quarter or N81, 000 with a discount of N9,000 for half a year
Similarly, daily payment for shuttle/Buses is N1,000 at the rate of N25, 000 monthly or N70,000 with a discount of N5, 000 for one quarter or N135,000 with a discount of N15, 000 for half a year. For Taxi drivers, the daily rate is N700 or N17,500 for one month. They have the option of paying N49,000 quarterly with a discount of N3,500 while N94, 500 with a discount of N11, 000 is for half a year.
The rate of N1,200 daily is for Township Bus operators at the cost of N30,000 for one month, N84,000 with a discount of N6,000 for one quarter and N162,000 with a discount of N18,000 for half a year. Pick up Van daily fee is N1,000 at the cost of N25,000 for one month, N70,000 with a discount of N5,000 for one quarter and N135,000 with a discount of N15,000 for half a year. All these as applicable in all government-owned parks in the state.
On the part of government, part of the proceeds of the tax will be used for the management of different government approved parks and building roads, provision of affordable health care systemsl, education and other social infrastructural projects in the state.
It is on record that before now, the commuters pay more than the amount they are being asked to pay. In most cases, on daily basis these monies end up in private pockets, comprising of touts and other proxy, thereby making revenues acruable to government insignificantly low, almost like a pittance.
Blockage of these leakages through divergent illegal windows is part of what Professor Soludo is tirelessly working to block and plug. It means elimination of touting system across Anambra state. It will equally entail using Anambra money to work for Anambra. To futher simplify it, since inception of Governor Soludo’s government four months ago, it had not collected any tax or levies from the operators, while the consultation process lasted.
Following a peaceful demonstration by some keke and shuttle buses operators who paid a visit to Anambra state government house, a meeting was convened by Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, at the instance of the Governor, to peruse over the government decision. The decision of the meeting was that government’s area was a well-thought out plan that would benefit not just the operators, the state and Ndi Anambra in general.
Addressing a joint government media briefing the Ministries of Transport, Trade and Commerce, Information as well as the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service reiterated government stand and emphasized that July 7 as deadline for the ongoing verification and enumeration exercise for Tricycles Shuttle buses and other commercial vehicle operators in the state. The enumeration exercise which was supposed to last for four weeks, eventually turned out to past for for two months so that everyone including stakeholders are adequately carried along
Mr. Madiebo who explained that the new tax regime was introduced by the present administration because it wants to create an economy which is at par with what is obtainable across the world, as a way of doing away with touts/Agberos in the state. He pointed out clearly that the goal is to create a digital structure around taxation so that people can pay direct to the government coffers and eliminate loss of revenue. This became the resolution that was based on an agreement between the commuters and government after series of engagements.
The Commissioner for Transport, Barrister Pat Igwebuike said the ongoing exercise is being carried out in a transparent manner. She re-emphasised that daily collection was no longer feasible because it will cost government more.
On the other hand it is imperative to state that some operators have already started to queue up to be enumerated and are paying up as well. Little wonder members of the keke riders’ association embarked on a round of demonstration, to drum support for the new tax regime as introduced by Anambra state government.
The era of multiple levies, indiscriminate collection of State revenue, roadblocks and personal enrichment by several interest parties/vested interest halve come to an end.
Goovernment, in all sincerity cannot continue, hands akimbo and allow agberos and illegal revenue collectors to continue ripping the state off of its legitimate earnings. Against this backdrop, all government levies’ and taxes’ collection must now be done digitally with electronic reciepts issued. Enforcement will soon commence, during which, electronic sticker- a quick response which will employ the use of USSD, will be equally deployed.
Governor Soludo wants the best for the people of the state and it is therefore incumbent on Ndi Anambra to give his government full support and cooperation in the march to building a liveable and prosperous state.
Operators in Anambra transport sector should avoid making payments to individuals. Anambra state revenues can only be paid to banks and their designate agents and insist on being receipted.
Below are numbers to call as provided by the state government in case of any form of emergency entailing harrassment by touts or illegal revenue collectors: 08124153139, 09167514891, 07039896429, 09017280990, 08093175528, 09168041120, 09076237441.