By Francis Ogar, Calabar
The Cross River State Anti-Tax Agency says the tax holiday granted to Small Scale businesses and peasant farmers is to pursue social inequality and to provide favourable business environment for those categories of businesses to strive.
Bishop Emmah Isong, Chairman Anti-Tax Agency spoke in Calabar with journalists shortly after their inauguration by Governor Ben Ayade at the Governor’s Office.
He said that with the tax exemption granted to petty businesses, Cross River State will soon begin to experience economic boom as many of these enterprises who went to other states will soon return to the state.
According to the chairman who is also the founder of Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI) Calabar, those category of businesses include; small scale catering restaurant points, hair dressing saloons and small hotels with less than 50 rooms.
The Cleric further disclosed that the Small Scale Tax Exemption Law has been in place since 2015 and lamented that the poor and the vulnerable were being victimized by illegal tax consultants who impose unnecessary tax on them noting that the illegal consultants were mostly local politicians close to government.
Dr. Emmah Isong, who served as the National Publicity Secretary, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), also said that his agency will work closely with the State House of Assembly, the Judiciary stating that mobile courts have been created to prosecute offenders.
The PFN National Publicity Secretary said “the tax holiday will see many organizations returning back to the state to do business and there will be improvement of life and security”.
“Gov. Ayade continues to set the pace for other states in Nigeria. He is the only Governor in the world that has established an Anti-Tax Agency, while many governors in the country are increasing the capacity of their tax agencies”.
“The Governor believes in social balance. As the state is looking for money from revenue he is also shielding some petty traders from being taxed. That is social balance he added”.
Earlier Gov. Ben Ayade had said “I charge you that this responsibility comes with it’s own troubles, you have a choice to do that which is good and the selection of this team is based on your history, it’s based on your profile, the understanding of your closeness to God and that you will do that which is fair to all manners of people equally and fairly.”
“We charge you to ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants.
He said the Agency’s responsibility was to put and end to illicit taxes on people.
“We have exempted all Okada riders, taxi drivers airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points, all those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living they are exempted today from paying tax. We have exempted them because it is better for me as a Governor to rather task my brain, than to tax my people”.