The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Councils to suspend the indiscriminate, illegal, and outrageous levies on all business categories.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Yusuf Tajudeen (PDP-Kogi) on the floor of the House on Tuesday in Abuja.
Tajudeen, while moving the motion, said that many business outlets and private enterprises had been under serial threats, intimidation, and coercion by various task forces operating in the six area councils.
He stated that the task forces operated under different guises, adding that they harassed and forced business owners to pay various spurious levies which were in most cases bogus and unrealistic.
The lawmaker added that such levies were not only discriminatory, outrageous, and illegal but that money collected from business owners often ended up in private pockets of tasks force officials.
“These task forces in their desperate bids to circumvent government policies as regards revenue generation issues unrealistic and unimaginable levies they know will be difficult to be paid by business owners.
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“Through these sharp practices, monies due to the Federal Government to boost the economy are diverted into private hands of the task forces, who have perfected perpetual blackmail and extortion,” he said.
He said that owners and operators of supermarkets, hotels, cafeteria, eateries, furniture shops among others had become serial victims of task force officials
He said that continued swindling of business operators in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and other area councils in the FCT under the guise of collecting levies, tenement, and other charges.
He said this had led some entrepreneurs that could not cope with the multiple payments to sack some of their workers.
The lawmaker said that such unwholesome and fraudulent practices of forcing and blackmailing business outlets to pay multiple races and levies had led to consistent and serial complaints of bankruptcy by operators.
The house, therefore, mandated the Committee on FCT and FCT Area Councils and Ancillary Matters to investigate the matter and report back to it in two weeks.
It also mandated the authorities of FCTA in the interim to suspend the activities of task forces in all the six area councils pending the completion of the matter by the house.