By Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti
Informal Sectors in Ekiti State have kicked against what they described as double taxation in the state. The group also tasked government on proper utilization of tax being collected from the people.
In view of this, a seven man committee was set up after a two-day workshop in Ado Ekiti, which was organized by Situation Room, UK International Development in partnership with New Initiative for Social Development.
The committee tagged, “Tax for Service Group Ekiti State, comprises representatives from different sectors in the state such as artisans, market women, community leaders among others was set up to stop the issue of double taxation and ensure proper utilization of the tax being collected by the state government.
Addressing newsmen after a stakeholders meeting in Ado Ekiti, representative of the committee, Pastor Akin Abimbola explained that the group would serve as representative of tax payers and ensures effective monitoring of government programmes for judicious use of money realized.
Abimbola noted that members of the committee would also embark on massive campaign to enlighten the public on the need to pay their taxes and also organize periodic dialogue with government for proper utilisation of the taxes.
Pastor Abimbola promised that the committee would guide against multiple taxation that often discourages people from paying their tax in the state.
According to him,”This committee is set up to monitor Government activities, to collaborate with the Government on Tax Education, to collaborate with the Government to identify and stop Tax leakages in the State.
Taking a queue from the experiences of the hoteliers association, where the government was already paid 7.5 percent of all the services being rendered in the hotel to the federal government.
“The Nigerian constitution provides that the 7.5 percent and a very considerable percentage of it comes back to the state government and part of it to the federal government. Whereas, the state government is also coming up again to collect additional 5 percent aside the 7.5 percent which will now measure up to 12.5 percent of the same service. This will have a heavy slap on the masses. Also, the economy will be palatable and it is already affecting patronage in some of our business areas.”
“The state government, on the consumption tax, according to them targets basically and only limited to the hospitality sector, the hotels, the fast food and the event centers.
“It was specifically stated in that law and we are willing to dialogue with the government on the issue of multiple and double taxation to ensure that all grey areas are addressed for tax payers to be comfortable in paying tax
“This should be done right from the House of Assembly. If the government is going to do it, this group will serve as a middleman between the government and our people to interface and tell the government what the tax payers want to get from the government, what is expected of them is to ensure that things go well and the tax paid and if taxes are paid, then quality and better infrastructure will come from the government on the taxes that are being paid.
“So, we condemn outrightly and in strong term double and multiple taxation as well as uncertainty and inequality in tax payment.
“We will ensure accountability and transparency, we will engage the government and other stakeholders in periodic dialogue sessions. And if government fails to use tax for societal development, it will be called out”. The Committee chairman further stressed.
The Executive Director of New Initiative For Social Development (NISD), Mr Biodun Oyeleye said the meeting, on ‘Improving Governance Through Tax For Service In Ekiti State’ was designed to address the issues surrounding the payment of taxes and the impact of its deployment on the taxpayers.
Photos of participants at the event: