• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Anxiety as Wike signs tax laws

wike signs

The state governor, Nyesom Wike, signed into law the much-feared new tax laws in Rivers State on Monday. The governor signed three laws all together, but the labour led by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had kicked against the tax laws for returning the Social Services Levy and for giving the governor the power to put in any tax into the tax law any time.

Signing the bills into law, Wike commended the Rivers State House of Assembly for always taking steps that promote good governance and development in the state.

The three laws assented to by the governor include: Rivers State Taxes and Levies Miscellaneous Provisions Law Number 2, 2016, Rivers State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurants Consumption Law Number 3 of 2016 and Rivers State Polytechnic Law Number 4 of 2016.

The governor said the State Assembly has always made sacrifices for the advancement of the  state. He noted that despite the fact that members were yet to get their allowances, they have remained committed to the progress of the state by expeditiously treating bills brought before them.

He said: “The governor does not have official vehicle, deputy governor has no official vehicle and the  House of  Assembly  members have no official  vehicles. They have continued to make sacrifices for the good governance of Rivers State and we commend them. All the sacrifices of the Rivers State House of Assembly will be rewarded by greater performance from this executive council.”

He said the laws would be implemented for the good of the people of the state. In his remarks, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dabo Adams, said when the governor made a pledge to deliver good governance,  the House took it as a challenge to work harder for the state.

Presenting the bills for assent, Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Martins Amaewhule said that the laws were passed in line with the constitution. He informed that the House held public hearing to get the input of the people before the passage of the laws.

The major input however was objections raised by TUC on three major ground; that the TUC would down tools if the Social Services Levy first introduced by the past administration but stopped by the courts was returned; that it was wrong to give the governor the power to insert clauses in the tax laws; and that hotel occupancy law was anti-business.

It is not known if these observations were reflected in the final bills but the tradition of the House in the state is that executive bills hardly get retouched.

Sources however hinted that the House was not in the mood to confront Labour at this point in time by insisting on the Social Services Levy, despite the desperation for revenue.