The Chairman of Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), Dr. David Nzekwu has revealed that despite having thousands of traders, only Ninety-One (91) people pay taxes in Nnewi.
The Anambra revenue boss who was reacting to the video trending on social media that traders in Nnewi have resorted to self-help to provide basic amenities like roads, alternative electricity supply, security and a host of others, said that Nnewi traders haven’t paid tax for over 10 years.
According to him, the reason why there seems to be a lack of state government presence in Nnewi is because there is a huge level of tax evasion in Nnewi, noting that if Nnewi traders and residents were paying their taxes, Nnewi would be China and London.
Speaking further, Dr. David Nzekwu said that Nnewi has been a problematic area when it comes to enforcement and that tax evasion, admitting that lack of compliance to taxation in Nnewi was responsible for infrastructural decay in the area.
He said that Nnewi is integral to the state economy due to the volume of trade and manufacturing activities in the town, he said the area would have been a major revenue source for the state but expressed discontentment that in some areas traders have not paid any fees for ten years.
He revealed that a lot of tax evasion activities go on at Nnewi and that tax authorities were even more disturbed with the activities of the Fairly Used Motorcycle Dealers Association even though he pointed out that Chief Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson Motors) intervened in the matter and helped redeem the taxes of the Fairly Used Motorcycle Dealers Association.
He said, ”As a matter of fact, from our figures of 2019, we had generated bills for payment of taxes for 11,941 people in Nnewi-North and 2,315 in Nnewi-South. Bills payable in Nnewi-North is 3.4 billion but unfortunately, only 91 people pay tax in Nnewi-North and 18 people pay tax in Nnewi-South; that is the total revenue collected from both Nnewi-North and Nnewi-South was a little above 20 million Naira.”
”Had we collected 3.4 billion Naira that we are supposed to collect from Nnewi-North and 624 million Naira that we are to collect from Nnewi-South, that would have provided the government with about 4 billion Naira with which to provide all the social amenities that people need there”
“Our people need to understand that it is the taxes that they pay that the government uses to provide social amenities and other functions on their behalf. Let me also appeal to our people in Nnewi; if out of this 11,941 people, we are expecting to pay a tax of 3.4 billion Naira in Nnewi-North, if they pay their taxes, they will have a voice to hold the government responsible to see that government is doing what they expect it to do”
”Am surprised that any person in Nnewi will have the mouth to say they are doing things for themselves. All they need to do is to pay up their taxes and hold the government responsible to see that the government provides whatever they desire. The government is paying for waste management, but Nnewi people are not paying their ASWAMA levies”
It will be recalled that earlier last week, the lawmaker representing Nnewi North in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor had moved a motion calling on the Executive Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, to upgrade Nkwo Nnewi to an international Market Standard to enhance the capacity of the market for more economic activities.
According to him, despite generating a huge revenue to both traders and government, the market is currently suffering obvious infrastructural decay, which if not addressed, will stunt the further development of the market.
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