By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Abia State government has granted a two year tax waiver to traders affected by the ongoing remodeling of A-line in Ariaria International Market.
The two year tax waivers include payment of revenues collected by state and local government agents in the markets in the state.
Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who disclosed this during a meeting with the traders in Aba , explained that the waiver is in sympathy and solidarity with traders who were affected by the recent flooding in the market occasioned by the torrential rains of the past three days.
He announced the setting up of a committee comprising Ministry officials and traders to assess the extent of damage done to goods of affected traders by the rainfalls, stressing that the government would offer financial support to the traders.
The Commissioner further disclosed that three blocks of the remodeled A-Line and the road leading to the Line would be commissioned in December 2022 by the Governor.
His words; “The tax waiver is in sympathy with the traders of A Line who were affected by the recent flooding of the market as well as the ongoing remodeling of the market. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu sympathizes with the traders who lost their goods.As you count your losses, the government is with you and is doing everything to ameliorate your loss. We can’t tax a trader who has not traded for two years. Abia State government has a list of shop owners at the market, but we discovered that shop owners are not necessarily traders. We have set up a committee to ascertain the actual traders. We will issue the traders with the document exempting them from tax payment for 2 years. While we obviously have no way of preventing heavy rains from falling in any of our markets, the administration undertook the ongoing remodeling of the market, starting with A-line, with new drains, road and shops elevated and aligned properly to conclusively deal with the perennial flooding challenges experienced by traders since inception of the market.
“While the construction of high quality shop structures in A-line will continue, we have mobilized resources to ensure that as soon as the rains abate construction of A-line road and associated drainages will commence and conclude within the coming dry season window. We wish to seek the continuing partnership, support and understanding of our traders and visitors to the market for the successful execution of this phase of the project which will deliver modern market infrastructure to generations of traders. The developer of the market, Blessed Henken International Company Limited has been directed to commence excavation and construction of a 2-metre width culvert across Faulks Road from A-line to channel storm water from the construction area to Waterside River in Aba through Faulks/Osusu Road drainage way.”
He warned politicians to desist from instigating crisis in the market as security agents have been directed to ensure the protection of lives and properties at the market.
“We have also received information on plots by politically sponsored hoodlums to hide behind these nature-induced challenges to unleash destruction and looting of goods belonging to innocent traders in the market. The state government has directed Security agents in the state to ensure protection of the market and the traders as well as deal decisively with trouble makers and their sponsors.”