Thursday, 1 August 2019

Multiple taxation undermines business growth of informal sector in C/River —Kebetkache

Participants after the media parley 
1 August 2019

Multiple/double taxation has been identified to be undermining the economic effort and business growth of business operators in the informal sector in Cross River NEGROIDHAVEN has garnered reliably. This development was highlighted Tuesday during the interactive session between Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre with the press in Calabar, Cross River capital city.

While addressing the press immediately after the media parley, Effiom Duke the state Secretary/representative of Tax Justice Platforms disclosed that operators of informal businesses fall prey to the exploiting tendencies of tax contractors and government agencies. According to Duke the petty business owners in the state, 'are faced with daily toll payments from the local government or taxes from the state government. Sincerely speaking, our interactions with the operators of this category of business has made us to hear and see that they fall into the hands of government agencies and even tax contractors that get tax for their parent contractors. 

'Now, you and I know that within Nigeria there is a law against contracting of tax collection to individual contractors apart from the government agencies. But, we see it happen here in the state. At the local government level mostly where the party lords have companies, their boys move around to collect tolls in different forms at the local government and even at the state level from operators of businesses.'

While responding to the question bothering on whether the government is aware of the activities of private contractors who do business on behalf of their parents contractors, Duke affirmed that 'Yes, because one way or the other these tax contractors, that is, these political parties lords hide in the corridors of power to still perpetuate these evil act in the state. Now, apart from them being individual tax contractors they do not mind whatsoever form of levies they get and the number they impose on the petty traders within the state, that, having to do with multiple taxation within the ambit of tax collection.

Continuing he observed 'I feel that the state government is aware of it because even when they have an harmonised law between the state and local governments, and again the state government having a policy of exemption of certain categories of people not to pay tax and levies within the state, you still see these people molest those business operators... The enforcement is not working.'

When the parley broke up into three groups with the petty businesses owners differentiating into groups from northern, central and southern senatorial districts, it was garnered by our correspondent that double taxation was grossly undermining the economic growth of petty business owners across the length and breath of the state. For instance, the spokeperson for the central senatorial district group observed that in her community in Yakurr LGA traditional rulers share in the proceeds of tax collection further compounding the situation. It was discovered that in some communities, petty trading women pay as much as N10, 000 for their products or services as tax levies. 

Community participation in budgetary process 
Assessment of the budgeting process of the government by Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre a certain budget advocacy group reveals that the state government is yet to 'make gender integral to budget preparation and implementation' NEGROIDHAVEN can say authoritatively.

During the address Emem Okon the Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre observed that the gender context analysis conducted by her budget advocacy organisation suggests that amongst other things government does not take into consideration the reality of gender in the budgeting process, as a result the impact of this failure on the part of government is experienced in the minimal effect on women's general welfare and poverty reduction, inequality debars participation of community members especially women in the budgetary processes.

Her words, 'the gender context analysis conducted by Kebetkache in 2016 revealed that, government is yet to make gender integral to budget preparation and implementation; impact of budget on women's welfare and poverty reduction is very minimal, achievement  in the area of maternal and child care is yet to be translated into government budget, and lack of awareness, poverty and inequality limits the participation of community members, particularly women in budgetary process'. Speaking earlier Okon noted that her organisation with Tax Justice Platforms collaborates with each of the four states of Cross River, Rivers, Delta and Enugu. 

Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre is a community action, education and advocacy Non-governmental organisation working on development and social justice issues that affect women, children, and other vulnerable populations in Nigeria and around the world. It is committed to strengthening the effort community of members working to improve their conditions. The project is supported by OXFAM. 

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