ABIA STATE GOVERNMENT DENIES IMPOSING LEVY ON TRADERS AT EKEOHA SHOPPING CENTRE ABA; GIVES LEADERSHIP TILL END OF THURSDAY TO REFUND ALL SUCH PAYMENTS TO TRADERS.
Abia state government has said that at no time did it approve the imposition of levy meant for road construction on the shop owners and traders at the popular Ekeoha shopping centre at Aba the Enyimba city.
The leadership of the market union was alleged to have been collecting sundry amount of money from the traders ranging between 100 thousand naira to 250 thousand naira.
The levy is said to be based on the location of shops in the market.
But, the state government in a press statement signed by the chief press secretary to the governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka, describes such levy as illegal since it was not approved by the government.
The statement further advises traders to totally ignore all notices given to them by the market leaders in this regard, while giving the leaders an ultimatum to refund all such funds before the close of work on Thursday.
It reads in part:
“In addition, Government hereby directs the Traders Association at the Ekeoha Shopping Center to immediately withdraw the demand notices already issued to the traders and as a matter of urgency, refund any such levies already collected from any trader in this regard. This refund must be completed before close of business today, Thursday, 8th August, 2019.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the only levy approved by the Abia State Government in all markets in the State is a consolidated sum of Eighteen Thousand Naira Only. This sum is a complete package covering all foreseeable levies including ASEPA, ABSAA, Stallage, Fire Service Operations, PPIDF, Personal Income Tax and Business Premises. These levies actually amount to more than Eighteen Thousand Naira but the Governor approved this discounted sum to ensure that traders are not overburdened with levies. Even with the discounted sum, the Governor even approved that the payment can be made in installments. This consolidated levy is payable only once in a year.
“It is therefore the height of impunity and administrative rascality for any market union to levy such outrageous sums of money on traders under any guise whatsoever. It is all the more heinous that such actions were taken without the approval of government. The Government of Abia State shall not tolerate such rascality by anyone.
“Market Unions and their leadership in all markets in Abia State are hereby warned to desist from such illegal collections as Government will bring its full weight against any person that flouts this directive.
Consequently, the leadership of the Ekeoha Shopping Center Traders Association are hereby summoned to a crucial meeting at the Office of the Deputy Governor, Government House Umuahia, next week Wednesday, 14th August, 2019 at 1pm prompt. All concerned must be seated at the Conference Room of the Deputy Governor’s Office at 12.30pm, unfailingly.”