Ekiti Tipper Owners on strike over Haulage Tax Imposition
By Oladele Adedayo, Ado Ekiti
Tipper owners in Ekiti State have embarked on strike to protest the imposition of N1, 000 tax per trip and a fine of N50, 000 on any defaulter by the Governor Ayo Fayose-led administration.
The Ekiti State chapter of Union of Tipper and Quarry Employers of Nigeria, described the imposition of the tax as “unacceptable” and the fine of N50, 000 imposed on any member who defaults in paying the tax as “outrageous”.
Members of the union after holding a meeting on the development on Thursday staged a peaceful protest at their secretariat to condemn what they called the “harsh tax policies” of the Fayose administration which they said would have negative effect on their business.
They recalled that Fayose came into office through their votes and. said his government should not make life difficult for the people.
The Tipper Owners said “We voted the governor and this is supposed to be the government of the masses. This government is turning to something else. We can’t be paying N1 , 000 per trip.”
Meanwhile, Government had through a letter dated 12th November, 2015 marked EK/MRDA/11/78 and signed by the Commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Michael Ayodele, communicated its desire to impose the tax which it described as “haulage fee.”
The letter reads in part: “The meeting deliberated on the current financial position of Ekiti State vis-à-vis the need to provide social amenities for citizens.
“Consequently, the Union is hereby notified that a haulage levy of the sum of N1, 000 only shall be paid on each Tipper load of gravel and sand. This covers the entire state.
“The measure takes effect from Monday, 16th November, 2015. Any defaulter will have his vehicle impounded by a Task Force and to be released on the payment of a fine of N50, 000.”
Chief James Olujimi Mokoa who is the State Chairman of the union said he had no option than to tell his members to withdraw their services because “we don’t have any N50, 000 fine to pay.”
Mokoa said it was wrong for the government to go on air to impose a tax of N1, 000 per trip before the governor called a meeting to discuss the matter.
He explained that members of the union had been paying levies to the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals including N20, 000 annual renewal fee, N9, 000 royalty levy and processing fee of N10, 000.
The tipper owners chairman said the governor told them at the meeting that there was no going back on the new tax regime and all efforts geared to convincing him failed.
Mokoa said: “The governor told us that he would be charging N1, 000 on every trip but we are under Ministry of Solid Minerals where we were
registered and we renew this with money.
“We told the governor that this is double tax and he said his decision
is final, he said he can’t change his words.
“The following day, we heard on the radio that the tax had come to stay and they said we should be paying to the bank. How can we be
queuing to pay in the bank? N50, 00 for anybody that violates the tax?”
Also, the Union Secretary, Banji Adameji said: “There is no tipper owner that can pay N50, 000 fine by virtue of what we pay to the Federal Government, I can’t say when the strike will be over.
“The N50, 000 fine is like taking our means of livelihood, they want to
claim the machine with which we are working. We discussed with
Commissioner for Commerce and Commissioner for Local Government and we told them that we are under the Ministry of Solid Minerals.”
However, the state Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi said the N1, 000 “haulage levy” was for maintenance of road plied by the tippers urging union members “to show understanding and comply because there is no going back.”