Isaac Job, Uyo
Traders in Uyo have decried multiple taxes, levies and other charges by Akwa Ibom Government Revenue Agencies, saying it has crippled many businesses in the state.
Speaking with our Correspondent in Uyo , traders said that the excess levies have negatively affected their businesses.
They explained that some businesses have crumbled, especially petty trading where owners of such businesses could not withstand the stress of paying these multiple levies to different government agencies and their officials.
Other traders who spoke with our correspondent revealed that different revenue collectors such as officials of the State Revenue Service, Environmental protection And waste management Agency (AKSEPWMA), Ministry of Environment and Mineral resources, Uyo local government council collect levies ranging from sanitation fees, sign post, development rate, shop rate and public health levies .
They said the amount collected varies from N500, N1500, N2500, N3000 and N5000 respectively.
Narrating her experiences, Mfon Ebreso who sells water leaf at the popular ‘Akpanadem market’ in Uyo said that traders pay levies three times every day to those officials who are always hostile to the poor market women.
She added that they pay as much as N150 in the morning as soon as they open their wares; N100 in the afternoon and N150 in the evening.
She decried hostile attitude of the Revenue Collectors, adding that any woman who refuses to pay always have her goods seized or destroyed as the case may be.
”What we suffer in this market is constant levy, those village people who bring water leaf to sell in the morning market must pay N1500 every, those selling Mfi(periwinkle) pay N1000, if you don’t pay, those boys will not allow you to open your market, (wares).
“In the afternoon, they will collect N100 while in the evening it is N150. All tickets in the market are 250 everyday apart from the N1500 those people who come for bush market pay.
Sometimes those boys, who call themselves Udom boys will come and say, give me N300, if you don’t, they will put your wares in the gutter, you will not see them again.”
In the same vein, traders at the popular Ibom plaza- the commercial hub in Uyo metropolis have their fair share of uncontrollable levies. As a trader, Ugonna Maxwell said most of these government officials compelled them to pay some money without issuing any official receipt to them.
When contacted, an entrepreneur in the state, Mr Jeremiah Ukpe described multiple tax and levies as a bane to business growth in the state especially for new business owners .
Ukpe who is the Chief Executive Officer of Aniferaz, observed that some government officials demand for negotiations or payment for items not within their jurisdiction such as signage pasted on a building .
He therefore urged the state government to train and retrain genuine revenue officers to know more about responsibilities.
”In Akwa Ibom now, it is back to back, Federal Inland Revenue Service will come, Environment will come, AKSEPWMA will come, local government officials will come.
“The stress of paying for everything is just too much. Even signage on the building they will ask you to pay tax , in my case I said no, you pay when it’s on government open land Sometimes if you argue with those officials they will know that you know their tricks, the next thing they will say is, bros, let’s negotiate.
“Even those from the Port Harcourt Electrity Distribution Company (PHEDC) are not left out, the estimated bill is quite outrageous. I’m not afraid of taxations, but let me pay to the right people and to the right source.
”Payment should be documented in the system and notification of payment sent to the client either through email or SMS.
“Government should do something about people who move into people’s business premises to extort them, if you are real agent, please be very legal and civil.” he said.