The Edo State Commissioner for Business, Trade and Cooperatives, Hon. Patrick Iria Uanseru, has charged staff of the ministry in the 18 local government areas of the state to redouble their efforts at ensuring prompt payment of taxes/levies by business owners operating across the state.

Hon. Uanserun gave the charge during a meeting with ministry staff and other top management staff at the Conference Room of the ministry.

While appraising the performance of the staff for the months of June and July 2023, the Honourable Commissioner demanded a comprehensive data of active business premises, number of high-net businesses, schools, lounges, filling stations, among others across the state.

Speaking further, the Commissioner said the meeting was like an ad-hoc in-house enumeration/interactive session with staff to address the challenges from both the staff and business owners with a view to charting the way forward.

The Commissioner, however, warned against making up of reports or data as staff would be accountable for any false reports which he said will be verified within two weeks, emphasising that the ministry was interested in getting a workable data.

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The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Efe Iserhienrhien, while addressing some issues raised by some staff that the law only permits them a tax/levy collection of not more than N5,000, said the notion of business premises owners paying N5,000 was wrong as the law was reviewed in 2015 (Taxes/Levies Act 2015).

He added that as at that time, business premises in rural areas were to pay N5,000 only and N10,000 for urban areas, while N5,000 and N2,000 were renewable levy for urban and rural areas, respectively.

“If you look at the law (Taxes/Levies Act), it has only about four lines for business premises. What it is saying is that, among the 51 or so taxes and/levies to be collected, the state should legislate,” Iserhienrhien said.

“So, it varies from state to state. I am not trying to say that our laws are not obsolete, because when I assumed duty last year, the same issues were raised. What we are trying to do here is to broaden our base so that everybody is captured into the tax net.

“We must encourage everybody to pay, no matter how little, so that we meet the set target,” he said.