BY ENYIM ENYIM
ONITSHA—Traders in Onitsha have protested against collection of taxes, stall-age and development fees by Anambra State Ministry of Commerce and Industry without issuance of receipts.
Speaking at a meeting with the House of Assembly committee on commerce and industry headed by Umeh Ikechukwu, the market leaders drawn from all the markets in Onitsha said apart from non-issuance of receipts by the office of the commissioner, Mr. Robert Okonkwo, there were cases where a single receipt allegedly was used for taxes and stall fees instead of separating them for proper accountability.
According to them, the development was not healthy as it was robbing the state government revenue that could have been used to provide infrastructure and other amenities to the people of the state.
The traders who were at the House of Assembly following a petition by some traders on the aegis of Anambra State market stakeholders and elders forum appealed to the House committee to intervene in the matter, saying “we therefore call on you to use your good offices to order the concerned department for immediate issuing of the original tax receipts to the markets involved and let the perpetrators of this ugly trend be cautioned to avoid breach of peace. A stitch in time saves nine.”
The petition by market leaders from Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi addressed to Governor Peter Obi and copied to the House of Assembly, commissioner for commerce and other government agencies stated that staff of the ministry were forcefully collecting taxes and other levies from traders without issuing them with receipts.
The chairman of the committee assured the traders that the matter would be addressed with a view to making sure that the anomalies was corrected to ensure that the revenue that should get to government got to it.
Contacted, the commissioner for commerce and industry told the Vanguard that he would not comment but directed the reporter to go to the market and investigate the allegation of fraud made by the traders.