By George Onah
PortÂ Harcourtâ€”The Rivers State government plans to introduce levy on taxable adults, including professionals and artisans in the state, to cushion the spending of the government on free education as well as free health care.
To this effect, a bill tagged â€˜social services levy lawâ€™ has been proposed by the government and would be sent to the State Assembly after a committee headed by Justice Karibi Whyte (rtd.) would have submitted its report to the stakeholders in the state.
Disclosing the plan yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi drew attention to the reforms in the education sector and the need to sustain the facilities in healthcare delivery.
He said the government hoped to spend about N9 billionÂ per annum, while the education sector has not proposed its spending, which would affect children of both indigenes and non-indigenes.
A breakdown of the tax showed that persons in employment would part with one percent of their annual remuneration, while self-employed persons carrying on business as artisans/tradesmen would pay N5,000 per annum.
Similarly, professionals, including lawyers, architects, engineers, accountants etc., will pay N25, 000 every year.
Harping on the reforms in the school system, the governor said the new system would involve the feeding of the children of the rich and poor, adding that all classrooms and boarding houses would be well equipped and tastefully furnished
Amaechi warned the people of the state to stop talking about discouraging non-indigenes from operating in the state â€œbecause we must begin to lay new foundation for the betterment of the futureâ€.
On his part, author and elder statesman, Capt. Elechi Amadi, told participants that â€œeducation cannot wait because the Asian Tigers we are talking about today went back to education and educated their people.Â So, education cannot waitâ€.