Wednesday, 26 September 2018

INTERVIEW: Tax Reform will be a priority in my administration - Pual Udayi

19th September 2018 | Daniel Ekpe 

No business venture survives the onslaught of over taxation and multiple taxation in any place. One of the many problems of businesses in Cross River State nay Nigeria has been on taxation. 

While Government complain of not even taxing the citizenry and their businesses, the reverse has been the case as many complained being under the burden of heavy taxation and worse still multiple taxation. It's very pathetic that meaningful ventures suffer under the weight of taxation resulting from highhandedness and abuse of office. Having witnessed firsthand the indecency of our taxing system in Cross River State with various tales of man handling, exploitation and intimidation.

These issues are weighty and businesses are not just folding but moving away and rendering many jobless and plunging the economy into abject negative plight. Protest in the metropolis of Calabar is now commonplace. We have witnessed the Keke drivers, the market women, delivery vans more than twice, Garden Pick Ups, taxi drivers, bus drivers, the disable et cetera all in their numbers. These protests does not tell good about us and having listen to Dr. Paul Udayi on few occasion, it became pertinent to find out from him his intentions about taxation, over taxation and multiple taxation in the state.
Excerpts below:

Primetimevoice: How do you intend to solve the problem of taxation in Cross River State amidst the complaints of over taxation and multiple taxation?

Dr. P. Udayi: you will agree that the system of taxation in the state is at the mercy of the Internal Revenue Services and the various franchise who imposed taxes without consideration. In some instances, they will come with arrears as if they knew when you started the business in thousands of Naira. Some come with their demand notice with their own assessment of your business and how much you are to pay. Where is that done? It's more like a military conscription where you don't have anything to say, this is bad. I have said this and will continue to say it, my administration will be people friendly.

Primetimevoice: how do you intend to break even here?

Dr. P. Udayi: the first executive bill I will send to the State House will be on tax reform. What we have now are statements that are not followed. I recalled when the present Governor said that low income earners were exempted from taxation. Hair dressing saloons, tailoring shops, Keke Napeps et cetera were included, I tell you, and these persons still pay their taxes. Listen, I am a grass rooter, I relate with every person and I share in their challenges and problems. A Keke Napep driver pays close to five hundred Naira daily and he still has the ticketing boys and 100 Marian you call them to contend with.

Primetimevoice: Dr. with the way you are saying this, is like you have entered a Keke to have a ride in the city.

Dr. P. Udayi: Why not, you can't solve a problem when you don't know the problem. My idea of the tax reform is still keying into the enabling environment I had talked about before now. You see, what a person is to pay is push back to the person to decide. We should not deny the truth we all know that times are hard.

 When you continue milking people so hard and fast, the net result will play out in the society through the increase in crime waves as people will resort to other means to make ends meet. Once people see the value for their investment with the necessary indices of progress in place such as roads and others you are bound to make progress. Let me tell you this, the state is losing so much, we are trying to make 100% from very few but we can make the 100% from 1% contribution from a 100 persons who will still have their businesses in place and also contribute to the growth of the economy. We are aware that most times in this state and country, we say things that we don't do, principles over practice. I tell you this, Nigeria is developing and we have to key into this development as well. 

I must commend the Federal House and the President on the accent of the legislative autonomy, the judiciary independence. You read the national dailies and you see the Chief Justice coming out strong to warn judges to be fair in the dispensation of justice. We will use these to our advantage as well. 

The legislature like the executive were elected by their people, they listen to their constituents and should make laws that will affect their constituent positively, it is no longer business as usual that the executive will push whatever they like to them but they have to see how those things affect their constituent. The independence of the three arms allows for proper checks and balances. We see ourselves as partners not one pacifying the other. Our tax reform as to well-articulated with proper interpretation which why we need the partnership by the three arms of government.

Primetimevoice: we can see from your presentations that your intentions are genuine. We pray that you emerge as your party's flag bearer to implement these laudable strides.

Dr. P. Udayi: thank you very much. Feel free to come in and ask questions at any time.

Primetimevoice: thank you very much Dr.