By Anietie Akpan, Calabar

The newly inaugurated 18 Local government councils of Cross River State may soon interface with the State government on a possible review of the governor’s recent tax exemption law.

The law which was in place since 2017 and was re-emphasised recently by the state government governor, Senator Ben Ayade prohibits councils from collecting tax or revenue from the poor and less privileged like taxi and tricycle operators, traders and others and this is seen by some council officials as a direct way of depriving councils of some revenue.

But speaking with some newsmen in Calabar yesterday on issues of internally generated revenue (IGR), tax exemption and others one of the newly sworn-in Chairmen, Mr Effefiong Nta Eke said “the truth of the matter is I am just coming in. I need to understand the policies that have brought up this decision. I must understand the laws governing revenue generation for local government, and intervene.

Eke who is the Council Chairman of Calabar Municipality said, “I know without internally generated revenue (IGR), the local government will collapse. And you know, most of the revenues generated were able to take a lot of boys off the streets. Now, upon the stoppage of those revenue-generating activities they were doing, it’s become an issue.

“Our governor has a listening ear and in this direction, we need to sit down with him and tentatively address these issues. The State House of Assembly understands the laws and I think they are equipped with the tenets governing revenue generation for the local governments. So, it’s not just something you come and jump into. You have to follow the issues accordingly”.

On whether the councils will call for review the law, he said, “I am just coming into the office to look at it critically – the decisions of the government concerning the local government, do we have the capacity to intervene in whatever direction? I need to look at it critically before I make any statements”.

On plans for his council, Eke said “the area of security is a very cardinal point, it is very important. We have to commend the governor on the strides he has made to curtail the excesses of cultism and criminality that have been raging in the state. We commend him in that direction and we’re ready to partner and support whatever he is doing. Security is a very important aspect and one of our major concerns.

“Asides that, we’re going to look into the area of education. You know, the pandemic has set in and there has been a collapse of the educational sector and we want to do everything possible to boost that area as well”.

He also promised to get his people involved in massive agriculture considering “the level of industrialization that is taking place in the state. You know the governor has been working to site industries in every local government and he has charged us, as local government councils, to encourage our people to go into agriculture. That I know I am going to do, but I cannot do that alone. I need to set up a team in that regard”.

He promised to do a lot on education, empowerment and transportation so that the people of the council can be self-reliant.

Guardian

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