Benin City – Edo state Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu has said that the various economic reforms including new revenue pattern in the state are already paying off to the extent that it is economically viable enough to sustain itself without relying on statutory allocation from Abuja.
Comrade Shaibu made the assertion yesterday during a meeting with the Coalition of Traders and Artisans in Oredo Local Government Area,Benin.
The deputy governor who interacted with the Oredo traders on the state’s local government harmonised revenue laws and compliance,insisted that the Obaseki administration is not out to impoverish the people through taxation but working hard to create wealth and prosperity for the people.
He added that the present administration is rebuilding state institutions to make governance simple,effective and accountable.
Addressing the traders who had last week protested increase in levy by Oredo Local Government with an appeal to the state government to wade into the matter, the deputy governor said having looked at their complaints and the provisions of the harmonised revenue law ,absolved the Oredo council officials saying that they did not breach the law but however assured the traders the law is subject to review.
He rescheduled the meeting for Wednesday next week with a view to reaching a common grounds but that sustaining the old levy of between N2000 and N5000 annually will not be possible.
” we beleive that those of you in commerce and industry are the live wire of the economy hence we are ready to mediate and ensure your issues are addressed. As a matter of fact we a spreading our tax net to cover a wide range for us to survive without Abuja. Whatever tax,levy or rate that is collected now goes to government purse unlike before the new system of collection, but we will see how we can do some adjustments to ease your burden without offending the law.” He explained.
The chairman of the Coalition of Traders and Artisans in Oredo Mr Collins and others who spoke at the meeting appealed to government to be considerate by reducing the levy.
Other members of the group including Mr Darlington Ogbiti, Michael Nnakwue and Ogbonayan Sunday while also appealing to government to reduce the levy promised to assist government in ensuring hundred percent compliance,advising that by so doing government would realise more revenue than as they get now and block cutting corners.
Recall that the group protested against the new increase from between N2,000, N3,000 to N5,000 year to N50,000 and N150,000 respectively last week Wednesday.