Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has exempted a category of people, those he describes as still struggling from paying taxes in the state.
The governor who inaugurated an anti-tax agency to be led by Emma Isong said he had gone round and witnessed the level of poverty in the state.
Ayade in a video that has been widely circulated was seen crying at point over the depth of the poverty in the state he has governed for five years now.
The governor said he was not happy that the government, which did not meet the needs of the people in many areas still collects tax from them.
He said, “I never knew that five years as governor, there would still be people living in thatched houses in Cross River. I almost cried because I knew how prepared I was but it didn’t end the way I dreamt for the state. I wish God would intervene because I really wish I could help. It’s very painful.”
He told the newly inaugurated anti-tax team to be fair and to ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants.
“Your responsibility from today going forward is to put an end to illicit taxes on people. We have a tax law here that prescribes the people. We have a tax law here that prescribes the people who are exempted from tax.
He said, “All those categories of people and those that from time to time will be so announced by the governor, including every single hotel that has less than 50 rooms in Calabar and the whole state, today are exempted from payment of taxes.
Other categories of business people he exempted from paying tax include; Okada riders, taxi drivers, airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points popularly called mama put.
Ayade added, “All those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living, they have been exempted today from paying tax. We have exempted them because it is better for me as governor to rather task my brain, than to tax my people.”