Members and stakeholders of Imo Hotel Proprietors Association and Supermarket Dealers Association, Owerri chapter have called on the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to consider the plight of the citizens as it affect their operation in Owerri metropolis vis-à-vis the levies, dues, power charges/bills and taxation among others, instituted against them by the state Board of Internal Revenue and its agents.
Though they commended Okorocha for his administrative ingenuity in the state and Enugu Electricity Distribution Company for their power supply, they lamented that the levies from Board of Internal Revenue, its agents and bills from EEDC are becoming very outrageous.
They also decried that the agents of BIR had severally visited their business offices with bills they called Business Premises sanitation levies, signpost/advert bills, operational (license renewal permits) levies and infrastructural development levies among others which they said amounted to over N932,000.
The association however, alleged that there is a suspicion between Ministry of and Judiciary to give activities of government agents legal backing give them legal backing.
The association further lamented that the agents come also with pollution levies for hotels to the tune of over N200,000.
A member of the association who does not want his name in print said “We wonder how hotels which are not manufacturing companies should pay pollution levies. We are wondering whether all these levies are legal and the monies collected go to the state government coffers.”
They further stated that the multiple taxation, dues and levies by the BIR and agents impose on them are better imagined than expressed.
Stating that the multiple taxes were imposed with impunity, the association noted that they adversely affect their businesses.
They, nevertheless, contended that they were being forced to effect these payments without any form of business consideration and economic quagmire in the country.
“The taxes and levies imposed on us are such that after such payments, the proprietors make little or no gain. Many businesses have packed up owing to this. More so, the bills from EEDC is very outrageous that one begins to think of how to make it in business,” the association added.