Truck drivers and chippings dealers in Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital, on Tuesday, protested over alleged multiple taxation and harassment by the state government’s taskforce on taxation.
ROYAL NEWS reports that the drivers who blocked the Igbogene Toll Gate entry point to Yenagoa, obstructed movement in and out of the state capital.
The Chairman of the Chippings Association in Bayelsa, Mr Ikechukwu Nweke, said the problem started on Monday, when the government’s taskforce blocked trucks carrying chippings from entering the state.
Nweke said the taskforce had refused to allow the trucks to enter the city except they paid N2000 each in addition to the N7000 they had been paying daily.
He said: “We have been paying N7000 per truck everyday as levy. Though the amount is exorbitant, as peaceful people, we have cooperated with them.
“But on Monday, they blocked our trucks from taking chippings into the state except they paid addition N2000 making it a N9000 daily levy.
“Government introduced unified levy and we complied just to have peaceful business here in Bayelsa.
“But the sanitation office came up again with an additional amount. Where do we get the money to pay all those levies?
“The taxation and levies are becoming too much a burden for us. We have written to the state government to complain about these things.
“We pay N6000 for unified ticket, N1000 to the National Union and now sanitation office has come up with its own. How much do we make from the business?”
Reacting, the government revenue agent, Mr Doubra Kumokou, said the previous administration had introduced harmonised tax system to curtail multiple levies.
He said he was surprised that sanitation office introduced additional taxation without even consulting the revenue agent.
Kumokuo, however, expressed hope that the state government would intervene and settle the issue amicably.
Ms Grace Ekiotene, the state Commissioner for Transportation, said the ministry would meet with all the transport unions to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Unified Non Indigenes in the state, Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, has urged the protesting groups to stay action as government was working to resolve the issue.
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