Ban on Private Revenue Collectors: Civil groups backs Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

More commendations have continued to greet the prohibition of private revenue collectors announced by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in his new year broadcast.

The ‎Conference of Non Governmental Organizations (CONGOs) urged the governor to sustain the ban and never yield to intimidation from any quarter.

Several individuals and bodies have commended Obaseki for his bravery in putting the private revenue collectors contracted by his predecessor in office, Adams Oshiomhole, out of business.

Obaseki in the new year broadcast, had said: “I must quickly mention that one issue that continues to agitate Edo people is the lawless activities of some individuals who persist in harassing and extorting innocent citizens under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.

“The laws of our country vests the responsibility for collecting taxes exclusively on the 3-tiers of government, that is, Federal, State and Local Governments.

“Consequently, with effect from today, January 1, 2017, only employees of government can collect taxes and levies in Edo state.”

In a press statement signed by Comrade Jude Obasami and Destiny Enabulele, President and Secretary of (CONGOs) respectively, they stated that as the conscience of the civil engagement, they have decided to throw their weight behind the pronouncement.

They also commended the governor on his plan to develop Gelegele port into a foremost economic and industrial hub, noting that it would improve the economic competitiveness of the state.

“Most importantly, the ban on private revenue collectors is welcomed and long over due. This issue has continued to agitate Edo people.

“We have repeatedly condemned the lawless activities of some individuals who persist in harassing and extorting innocent citizens under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.

“We appeal to the government to have the political will to sustain this arrangement. Equally, we call on the Board of Internal Revenue and other relevant agencies to immediately start the process.

The CSO members who agreed with Governor Obaseki that “the laws of our country vest the responsibility for collecting taxes exclusively on the three tiers of government, that is the federal, state and local governments,” and advised that there should be clear-cut definitions on who to tax and what to collect.

They however noted that pronouncement on the ban should not be normal ritual as in the past when government progressed in their constitutional requirements to the people, only to renege or go back to its vomit.

“Governor Godwin Obaseki’s broadcast gives hope to Edo masses, but their fear is that the pronouncements will go the same way other pronouncements have gone in the recent past,” they said.

Commenting on Obaseki’s promise to develop technical and vocational education in the state, the CONGOs officials recommended that the organised private sector should be well involved, just as they suggested that the school curriculum of the state be refocused to ensure that it captures the gap in the sector.

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

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