Enugu : Ogbete traders cry out over multiple taxation
* Fear outbreak of epidemic
By Our Reporter
Traders in Ogbette Main Market, Enugu on Wednesday cried foul over increasing cases of multiple taxation and levies in the market.
The traders also expressed concern over a possible outbreak of epidemic in the market following the encroachment of sewage from the premises of the Nigerian Correctional Service nearby
The traders spoke during a sensitisation programme undertaken under the ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance against Prevalence of Corruption’ (SCRAP-C) project.
The project which is powered by ActionAid Nigeria is implemented in the state in partnership with Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiatives (DEDSRI).
One of the traders, Mr Patrick Ezema, said that they were grappling with several levies which were affecting their businesses negatively.
Ezema mentioned some of the levies to include sanitation levy, annual levy, EEDC levy, packing late levy and special security levy.
The trader said that what was more painful were three other levies which he described as unfair.
He listed the levies as, wheel barrow permit, hawkers permit and eating permit.
Ezema said that the eating permit was paid by caterers in the market.
“Some of these levies are unacceptable to us and the effects of paying them are not felt in the market. Stall levies rise in geometric progression annually,” he said.
Ezema wondered why wheel barrow pushers and sachet water hawkers who were struggling to survive would be forced to pay levies.
The trader also complained about the encroachment of sewage into the market, from the premises of Nigerian Correctional Service.
“We have been falling sick here due to the sewage that gushes into the middle of the market. Many traders have left their shops due to constant sickness,” he said.
Ezema said that the traders would have no option but to revolt in the coming days if nothing was done to stop the encroachment of the sewage into the market.
Also, Mr James Ukomadu, another trader, said that there needed to be a sick bay or health centre in the market due to the rate at which the traders fell sick.
Ukomadu said that there was need for other infrastructure to be put in place in the market to reflect the huge levies they paid.
Also, Mrs Chinyere Ukatu said that the lack of potable water in the market was affecting them.
Ukatu appealed to the government to come to their aid.
Earlier, the Executive Director of DEDSRI, Ms Ogechukwu Enwelum, said that the aim of the sensitisation programme was to get first hand information on incidence of multiple taxation in the market.
Enwelum said that the organization, after a thorough investigation discovered that the traders were grappling with multiple taxation.
She said that the situation was inconsistent with the status of the state as one of those in the country with better enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“We came for advocacy to enable us understand the situation. We want businesses to grow in the state,” Enwelum said.
She also said that they needed to know if there was an accountability forum in the market.
Wawa News Global reports that the issue of multiple taxation have been in the front burner in the state.
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had on different fora expressed willingness to harmonise such levies.
Ugwuanyi had also in the past promised to address the issue of sewage encroachment into the market.
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