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Politicians frustrating C’River Anti-Tax Policy -Agency Chief

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

The Chairman of the Cross River state Anti-Tax Agency and the Presiding Bishop of the Calabar-based Christian Central Chapel Int’l, (CCCI), Bishop Emmah Isong, has asserted that some government appointees and local government chairmen were directly fighting against the implementation of the tax exemption policy of the State government meant for the poor and low-income earners.

Recall that the state government had, in 2020, established a 4-man Anti-Tax Agency, made up of only clergymen with a mandate to ensure illegal and multiple taxations, especially of the poor, were brought to an end.

In a press briefing in Calabar, the Anti-Tax Chief said despite the law exempting petty traders, artisans, hairdressers, eateries, taxi/tricycle operators and all low-income earners from taxation and levies being in force, some commissioners and local government bosses were still sending their agents to the streets to molest and forcefully extort monies from those government had exempted from every form of levies.

“Due to recent observations and information on the continuous operations of certain recalcitrant Tax Consultants purportedly representing local government councils or MDAs of government, it has become mandatory for the State Anti-Tax Agency, in collaboration with enforcement services, to issue a warning.

“We are also alerting unsuspecting members of the public that the popular Tax – Exemption Policy of Senator Prof. Sir Ben Ayade is still in force and remains unabated despite political propaganda and mischievous manipulations.

“As I said earlier, elements within the government are perpetrators of lawlessness, going against the policies of the government. This is very frustrating it is a policy summersault and insolence on the personality of His Excellency, Prof Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River state.

“The Cross River state Anti-Tax Agency has had enough of this anomaly. We are going to profile politicians, especially local government chairmen and commissioners who are fighting against this popular, people-oriented policy. We will publish their names to guide policymakers and electorates on elections and appointments.

“This will help our people to take an informed position against the so-called commissioners and council bosses who are benefitting from the ongoing extortion of the poor traders on the streets. We will publish their names and leave the rest to electorates to decide.

“To be candid, those commissioners and chairmen sending their boys to beat up the poor waterleaf seller and confiscate foodstuff in the name of ticket payment, are the real enemies of the market women, enemies of the taxi drivers and artisans and indeed enemies of Cross River State

“We have evidence to show, we have videos. The other day, a graduate, who could not secure a job in our country and so decided to go into recharged card business in Ika Ika Quo market was beaten up by tax agents and his bundle of cards scattered because he could not afford the levy they were demanding. This is wickedness, this is unacceptable.

“The aforesaid tax masters store up proceed from this illegality to embark on empowerment before elections. Our people should reject some of that empowerment,” he stated.

Bishop Isong confessed he was attacked by agents of the tax emperors after an attempt to induce and compromise him failed. He called on Cross River people to support the Agency in its determination to fight the menace.w

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