Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, has promised to address the issues of multiple taxation and intimidation of business people in Abia, by the state government, when he takes over the reins of governance in 2023.
Otti spoke when he met with the executives of the Aba Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA) and representatives of other allied unions, on Friday, at the chamber’s Secretariat, 3, Umuimo Road, Abayi, Aba.
“The president (ACCIMA president) talked about multiple taxation. The understanding of the people in government, now in the state, and those before them about taxation is the flooding of roads with thugs and all kinds of touts to harass people and intimidate them, in the name of revenue generation.
“Taxation is very important as a major source of internally generated revenue. However, we shall review the present tax policy, which is harsh, punitive and discriminatory and stop unnecessary duplication of taxes.
“My definition of taxation is government’s share of the prosperity it has created among the populace. So, create value for Abia and the people will be willing to pay their taxes. By implication, if you have not created prosperity, you are morally not justified to collect taxes.
“Our government will abolish illegal tax and levy collectors and stop the deployment of touts who intimidate residents in public places like markets, parks, roads and stores etc.,” Otti assured his hosts who listened with rapt attention.
The ACCIMA president, Chief Jerry Kalu, had while welcoming the Labour Party gubernatorial candidate, enumerated various issues his members and other businesses had to go through in conducting their trades and appealed to him to give their concern priority attention when he gets into office.
Kalu complained to the frontline governorship candidate how flood, bad road infrastructure, poor power supply, misguided executive orders and government’s asphyxiating tax regime have continued to kill businesses.
Otti sympathised with him, promising that the Labour Party government that he would lead from 2023 will ensure the creation of the necessary enabling environment for their businesses to prosper.
This, he said, will include tax forbearance, exploitation of some of the state’s natural resources for power generation, partnership with the private sector to industrialise the state, thereby creating opportunities for the employment of teeming number of Abians; and of course, the payments of many months of arrears of salaries and pensions to civil servants and retirees.