The Chairman of the Cross River State Anti-tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong, has charged petty traders to resist illegal tax collectors who come to harass them for levies.
He gave the charge in Calabar during the second anniversary of the agency which was set up by Governor Ben Ayade to prevent the collection of taxes and levies from low-income earners.
“Once there is a mob action against illegal tax collectors, their activities will stop,” he said, adding that the petty traders were more aware of their rights now through the enlightenment activities of the agency.
He accused local government council chairmen of masterminding illegal taxation in the state.
He said council chairmen “are the chief perpetrators of illegal taxation. Illegal taxation has been institutionalised,” adding that two years after the agency was established, it has reduced illegal taxation by 40%, and vowed that the agency must make sure that illegal taxation was wiped out of Cross River State.
At the event which witnessed a parade by the agency’s brigade, Isong accused politicians of using levy collection points as settlement of the boys (thugs) after elections, adding that “other government agencies have also encroached into our constitutional duty, we face threats.
“We will continue to preach against those who frustrate and milk our state for their selfish gains. This agency is the first of its kind in Cross River State and Africa. Taxation is the oldest form of revenue generation in the world, but most people are hiding under government agencies and public offices to abuse taxation. This is very illegal.
He called for adequate funding for the agency and the recruitment of more workers as most of them were volunteers so that the agency could do more.
The agency was established in 2020 to prevent illegal taxation in order to promote small-scale businesses and entrepreneurship in Cross River state.