The State Governor, Chief David Nweze Umahi, has said that the new revenue law introduced by his administration was done in the best interest of the people.
Governor Umahi, at a press conference in Abakaliki on Friday, said the taxes were not intended to punish the people but to cushion the impact of the dwindling allocation accruing to the state from the federation account on the state.
Explaining that with an improved internal revenue base, the governor added that government would be able execute projects that would transform the state and better the lots of the citizenry.
He noted the “unfriendly” reactions of the people towards the new taxes and levies, the governor stated the State Executive Council did not direct that the arrears of taxes for 2013 and 2014 be collected alongside those of 2015.
Governor Umahi, “My people went beyond bounds. We never directed anybody to collect taxes for 2013 and 2014. Our interest is for 2015; there is nowhere, with the level of poverty in the state, we will ask people to pay tax for three years and give them four days to do that.”
He however appealed to the people to pay their taxes for 2015 based on the new rate, stressing that a town hall meeting would be held early next week to review the impact of the new tax regime.
The governor assured that those “those who paid for 2013 and 2014 will receive their money back”.
He warned those charged with the enforcement of the payment of taxes in the state to wear a human face in the execution of the assignment, warning that any revenue agent found to be engaging in malpractices would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Governor Umahi said, “The moment you defraud any Ebonyian in this issue of revenue, you will go to prison straight.”
The governor used the opportunity to appeal to traders at the Abakpa and Kpirikpiri markets to buy forms for the allocation of shops at the International market and stated that the two markets would soon be designated as food stuff markets only.
He announced the extension of time for the sale of the forms to 31st of December, 2015.