Commercial drivers in Anambra state under the aegis of Main Market Electrical Drivers Welfare Association (MEDWAS) Sunday protested over the proposed State Government new tax rate of N25, 000 per month, ANAMBRA PEOPLE reports.
They embarked on the protest shortly after being told of the State Government proposed new tax rate by their chairman, Mr Michael Mbele, who confirmed that he made the disclosure to the members after a meeting with a team of state government officials from Awka, State capital.
According to him ‘’I did not issue the directive in my own capacity, I only passed on the information handed down to me by a team of State Government officials after talks were held on the new proposed tax rate As a driver too, I feel that the new tax rate of 25,000 is much and I also call on the state government to have a rethink on the implementation which could lead to more suffering on the part of the drivers’’.
However, the drivers who didn’t take kindly to the development took to the streets of Onitsha in their droves to demand clarification from Governor Chukuma Soludo who had suspended the payment of any form of taxes and levies until he recently announced the introduction of a digitalized payment system.
According to the spokesman of the protesting drivers, Mr Magnus Dike, the drivers were earlier mandated to pay N4,000 monthly to a private firm set up by the state government to collect tax on its behalf.
‘’When Soludo came into power he warned us to stop paying taxes or levies to anybody and also told us that a new tax rate of N4,000 every month under a new digitalized payment scheme, which we all agreed to but we were shocked when our Chairman told us that henceforth we will now pay N25,000 a month”.
“Most of us don’t own the vehicle, we operate on a hire purchase scheme. How then can we pay the owners, and fend for our families? Please we call on Gov Soludo’s attention to our plight, we want to know if this new directive is from him through a reliable channel of communication like the newspaper or radio’’
While commending the Governor for his efforts so far in restoring sanity on the roads, another driver, Mr Chuks Nnadozie appealed for a reduction in the speculated tax rate due to the bad roads in the state.
‘’The roads are bad, the traffic situation is getting worse and we are finding it difficult to make as much number of trips as before, so it’s important the Government considers our challenges before implementing such an outrageous tax rate which we cannot afford going by our daily income and expenses’’.
When contacted the Leadership of the state umbrella body of Drivers In the state, Mr Paul Adiele, via telephone call, he said he was not in the know of such claims made by the drivers but was quick to point out that all taxes and levies had been suspended pending the implementation of the new digitalized tax payment regime as proposed by the State government.