Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Rivers State have called on the government and all relevant agencies in the state to handle the issue of taxation with fairness.
The coalition made this known in a Town Hall meeting organized by the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Rivers State chapter in collaboration with the Tax Justice Governance Platform in the state.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Tax Justice Governance Platform, Justine Amaechi explained that part of the mandate of the organization was to see that the issue of double taxation was eliminated from the state.
He maintained that the programme was under the theme, ‘Power of Voices Partnership- Fair for All’ which is one of the programmes of OXFAM International and supported by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and others with the aim of reducing poverty at the grassroots level.
The Social Crusader further said that the programme particularly targeted at the market women and that government that collect levies from these traders should put in place social amenities such as toilet facilities, proper sanitation, electricity and that government should allow the market women elect their representatives and not government appointing their officials to take charge of the market.
He said the partnership with National Association of Nigerian Traders, Rivers State would offer great opportunities to train the women in the areas of book keeping, demanding fair taxation, and advocacy meeting with relevant agencies of government.
Amaechi disclosed that the CSOs, would in the next few days, commend radio discussion programme, capacity building training and media round table. He expressed the optimism that at the end of the project, there would be tax to justice agreement as a demand in many markets in Rivers as days of multiple taxation are over in the state.
In her speech, one of the Resource persons and member of Society of Women in Taxation, Rivers State, Eunice Odum said that the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria would work with the women so that they would not spend all their money on different kinds of levies in the state.
She said that women were vulnerable to many kinds of demands and that sometimes they are humiliated, which lives the women in pain and penury.
Odum advocated for less levies for these categories of people in society that use their small businesses to pay their children’s school fees, house rents, medical bills, among others.
She urged the women to keep records of both their sales and the levies they are paying to the government at the state and the local government.
Earlier, the Deputy Co-ordinator of National Association of Traders of Nigeria, Ada Iwedi called for synergy between the CSOs and her group so that they breathe fresh air.
In her contribution, one of the Woman Leaders at Mile 1 market, Golda Nsiegbe expressed the optimism that working with CSOs would help to reduce their burden of multiple taxation in the state.
She decried a situation where traders would pay money for sanitation but the relevant agency will not remove the refuse.