Enugu State Government says it does not collect multiple taxes and levies from private school owners and other organisations in the state.
The government made the clarification while reacting to the allegation that its ministries and agencies collected multiple taxes and levies from private primary and secondary schools in the state.
Some of the officials, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Enugu, said individuals and organisations were being charged as required and stipulated by the laws in the state.
In his reaction, the General Manager, Enugu State Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency (ENSSAA), Mr Ike Ezeugwu said the law establishing the agency allowed for control of outdoor structures which schools were inclusive.
According to him, the law forbids anyone to provide any outdoor structure without approval from the ENSSAA.
He denied forcing any school to erect billboards but maintained that schools who had it must surely pay for it.
“If you have a school and feel like you can run it without billboard and signage, ENSSAA will not come for you.
“We are only interested in signage. Advertisement is a marketing strategy and if you want to use it, you pay,” Ezugwu said.
Speaking also, the Director of Collection, the State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), Mrs Chinwe Atama, said that individuals and organisations were assessed according to the established laws of pay as you earn.
She said that BIR had not double taxed anyone or organisation, saying that people often mistook other levies as tax.
NAN recalled that the State Chairman, Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) Enugu, Mr Emeka Grahams, had alleged that imposition of multiple taxes and levies by some government agencies posed a great challenge to them.
According to him, the huge amount we pay as taxes and levies worries our members and hinders development of private schools in the state.
He alleged that from time to time, some officials and representatives of these government agencies would demand certain amount from the school owners.
Grahams listed taxes and levies paid by the association as sanitation, Fumigation, Signage and Advert, Television and Radio, Health bills as well as the one they Paid to the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Graham, a private school proprietor, said these agencies and many Nigerians regarded private schools as millionaires irrespective of expenses they incurred.
“When it comes for collection of these levies, they ask other business owners to pay N2,000 but for private schools, they will ask us to pay N2 million.
“Most of them always come with threats of shutting down schools, arresting students, teachers or school property.
“Even touts and other unknown faces can get up anytime to request money from us and if any member is not courageous, they will scam him or her.
“It is a very big challenge and worrisome to us,” Grahams said.
The chairman had appealed to government to map out a strategy for schools to know legitimate government agents.