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Anambra’s elimination of illegal tax collections, win win for everyone

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THE first public outing of the new governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Chukwuma  Soludo, after the swearing-in ceremony was a fact-finding tour of the slums of Okpoko in the Ogbaru metropolis. The sub urban area near Onitsha is remarkable and  notorious for shanties harbouring disreputable elements and clusters of manufacturers of sub standard products. 

  THEREAFTER, the governor moved to other areas of Onitsha metropolis where he used the  opportunity to frontally address one of the knotty challenges facing the state in terms of collection of taxes and internally generated revenues (IGR), for the socio-economic growth and development of the state.

  DURING the outing, Gov. Soludo, without mincing words, declared as illegal,   touting, in whatever guise in  revenue collection for the state. He made it clear that rouge-collection of revenues for the state in streets, markets and establishments are  no longer welcome in Anambra State. He spoke thusly in Igbo language: “Biko nu umu nnem, agboro aburo olu,”  meaning that touting is neither a job nor a trade.   

He urged those who have been engaging in such means of livelihood to find better ways of earning  a living. He disclosed that his administration has  program to encourage skill acquisition or learning of trade with a proviso that the trainees will be financially assisted to start practicing what they have learnt.

  SOLUDO was particular about the menace of touts in  markets,  motor parks, roads and streets who bully traders, visitors in markets, cab drivers, commercial bus operators and tricycle riders. He also mentioned agents of market associations who demand fees from buyers in the name of raising revenues for the association and even the state’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

    THE SUM of the message is that revenue and tax collection in Anambra State will henceforth be technology-driven.

  THE governor made it clear that the whole gamut of revenue cum fees collections will be streamlined in addition to setting up tax forces to restore sanity on the roads, streets and markets. Hitherto, it has been a chaotic and outright mad house where all sorts of characters claim to be agents of one union or the other or communities brazenly extorting hapless citizens all manner of levies and fees thus causing confusion, traffic gridlock,  breeding violent cartels and  cults,  street fights among supposedly cult gangs which often result in murderous gambits fueled by addiction to hard drugs that turn the touts’  heads upside down.

  THE new governor of Anambra is poised to introduce technology in the planning and collection of IGR which is critical for his promises and programs of raising the living standard of ndi Anambra . Anambra State is richly endowed with entrepreneurial people and merchandising ventures.  When  technologically  backed IGR drives it,  it will yield good reward in terms of  the needed revenues that will make life  better in the state..

  LIKE every innovation for the generality of the people, there could be backlashes here and there but with proper planning and institutional guidelines, monitoring and control, everybody will be carried along to berth a sane and sanitised polity. The notion that touting is ‘job for the boys’  might be seen to be adversely affected but in the long run, it will be a ‘win, win’ for all parties as Soludo’s insistence on law and order and   promise of good governance will instill the culture of skill acquisition and honest means of livelihood as different from the mundane ‘agboro’ which had remained an ignoble means of livelihood.

  BY THE novel policy, the children who out of ignorance ‘admire’ the audacious, ill-behaved, ever quarrelsome touts who they may misjudge as brave street stars will now know who not to emulate and have ideas of what makes better  life and decide to be serious in  school. Peradventure,  the parents are unable to sponsor them to  school,  they will  see bright opportunities for fulfilling life in learning  skills or trades as  viable means  of earning a living and  becoming ‘somebody’ in society.

 THE fear that outright banning of touting will trigger  rise in criminalities and anti-social behavior could be said to be unfounded because the Anambra State Commissioner of Police has assured that his officers and men are fully prepared to back the governor with all the arsenals at their disposal to restore sanity to all the nooks and crannies of the state.

In other words, it will take the guts and temerity which the new helmsman has demonstrated to return a society running adrift to sanity and rescue the generality of the populace from bullies.  The era of crass impunity has gone and Anambra State is poised to be a model in good governance and orderly drive for IGR. 

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