Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has announced the immediate prohibition of private tax collectors in the state, there by reversing his predecessor tax policy in the state.The governor said in a statewide broadcast to the people that with effect from January 1, 2017, only employees of the state and local governments could collect taxes and levies in state. “I must quickly mention that one issue that continues to agitate Edo people is the lawless activities of some individuals who persist in harassing and extorting innocent citizens under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.
“The laws of our country vest the responsibility for collecting taxes exclusively on the three tiers of government, that is, federal, state and local governments. All arrangements to collect taxes or levies entered into by any state or local government agency in Edo State, ceases to be valid with effect from today,” he said.
The governor urged all citizens not to heed to any form of intimidation from any quarters. It is common knowledge that thugs over the years had been collecting taxes and levies on the streets of Benin, holding government and citizens hostage.
Traders and businessmen have been victims of harassment by owners of companies through loyal party thugs registered by the state and local governments to collect such monies in the state for decades.
But according to Obaseki, any person or group of persons being harassed by these “illegal nonentities” over tax should “call or alert law enforcement agencies if they find anyone involved in such nefarious activities.”
Recall that former governor Adams Oshiomhle had contracted tax collection in the state to some of his taunts across the state through out his tenure, a situation governor Obaseki is not comfortable with.