By Chuks Onuoha.
The Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association ALPADA said that the Abia state Board of internal Revenue service has refused to streamline its operational mode with modern global best practices by maintaining accurate record of those who are up to date with payment of property rates.
They said further that it is as a result of this lack of knowledge of those who have paid and those who have not that they are going about sealing properties of their members who are up to date with their payments, while defaulters, who are yet to pay a dime in government are having a field day.
They noted that the present operational mode of the board is not only anachronistic and discriminatory, but foster’s and promotes a regime of multiple taxation, harassment of the innocent property owners and glorification of tax defaulters.
The Association disclosed this at the occasion of it’s 2021 End of year Celebration, held at Unubi hall, Ngwa Road, Aba, Abia state.
The Association spoke through its president General, Chief Alphonsus E. Udeigbo, stating that many of the Landlord’s in Aba, apart from being subjected to multiple taxation ,are daily being harassed even after paying their rates.
They said that this development is not only unfair but discouraging to their members, whom they always ensure that they fulfill their statutory obligations of paying their taxes to the appropriate authorities.
Explaining what makes their Association unique , Udeigbo said that, “One thing we do first is to ensure that our new members sign an undertaking to pay their taxes and rates as at and when due before we admit them, and I can tell you here that our members have been paying .
“However, due to the inability of the Revenue Board to keep proper records, most of our members who have paid all their rates are having their property sealed. At the same time those I personally know that have not paid their taxes and rates in the last 6 years are left free. Most of them are even mocking our members. This is not only unhealthy, but discouraging not only to our members but to all law abiding citizens of this state,” Udeigbo said.
ALPADA thereby appealed to the State Governor, Dr Okezie Okezie Ikpeazu to urgently intervene by prevailing on the state Revenue Board to key into modern operational system with a view to maintaining a seamless tax/rates collection.
He stated that this year his members have so far added to the revenue profile of the state over N33milion in property taxes and rates, noting that the figures are bound to increase when the Revenue Board comes up with a seamless tax/rates collection system.
” For the record, we are not against the Revenue Board performing it’s duties. Our position is that it should endeavor to put in place a system that will make it easy for it to find out those who have paid their taxes/rates and those who have not paid. That will ensure that it only goes after defaulters and not innocent citizens.” Udeigbo added.
The activities of the state Revenue Board have in the last few weeks been called into serious question by many individuals and Corporate bodies in the state especially in Aba, following it’s sealing of all First Bank Offices in the state over tax related matters.
Currently , the Board is having a running battle with many privately owned educational institutions with many of them put under lock and key by the Revenue Board, while many of the affected institutions are curiously pleading their innocence.
The occasion was used to induct over 300 new members, while merit awards were dished out to some of its members and deserving members of the public. END