By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Traders at major markets, particularly in Minna, the Niger state capital have cried out over what they called insensitive multiple taxation by government’s revenue generating agencies.
Several tax collectors and government officials are now on the prowl in market places, roads, shops and other business centres armed with receipts to extract money and exploit unsuspecting business owners on a daily basis.
While many are compelled to pay the levies charged which range from security charges, sanitation charges and development levies, investigations by our correspondent indicated that, some people who claimed to be from the Niger State Revenue Board and the two municipal councils in the state capital have continued to harass market men and women forcing them to pay bogus taxes.
Worried by the activities of these multiple tax collectors, there have been growing complaints amongst some of the people affected who said they were being exploited unnecessarily.
They expressed worry over the activities of the so called officials who forced them to part with hard earned monies almost on daily and weekly basis to the cartel with receipts bearing, Minna Market Traders (Service Charge Receipt) which are issued to them by the cartel who go round the markets carrying out their nefarious activities.
Angered by this, the marketers have armed themselves with the various receipts and have vowed to stage protest against the activities of the thieving tax collectors if relevant authorities refused to arrest the development.
The showed our correspondent different printed receipts from various revenue generating agencies who claimed to be from either the state Revenue Board, the Chanchaga Local Government, Minna Market Authority amongst others.
Some of the affected business owners also alleged that some of the so called officials often demand for monies for “security purposes”.
“Every day we are made to pay for one levy or the other. Today it is N600 from the State Revenue Board, tomorrow another one will say they are from the Market Authority that the previous payment was for Chanchaga Local Government Council. Others even claim we have to pay for sanitation, for refuse collection etc.”
Another group said “after collecting all the levies which range between N200 and N600, another group will come whenever we are offloading goods to demand for N1,000 and if we did not pay, they will not allow us to offload our goods”.
“They will always come with their long sticks and ask us to give them money for security and if we tell them that we have already paid security levy they will tell us that this is their own, that the ones we paid before is for the government”.
The concerned and worried business owners further lamented that “we have been paying for sanitation, but we have never seen anybody coming to clean the market near our shops, yet they force each one of us to part with minimum of N200 every month”.
They asked the state government to check the fraudulent activities amongst the various tax and revenue collectors to check reprisal increase in the prices of goods in the markets.
The traders therefore cried out to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to check the indiscriminate taxes imposed on traders especially foodstuffs in markets.
They warned against consequences of multiple taxation, crazy tax, and illicit taxation on foodstuffs and other basic daily requirements especially in the face of the economic recession.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.