Governor of Cross River, Prof Ben Ayade, has cancelled taxes on low income earners and small businesses in the state.
Ayade in tears while inaugurating the Cross River Anti-tax Agency, wept over the depth of poverty in the state. He charged the new agency to ensure small scale businesses and peasant farmers enjoy a tax holiday.
The anti-tax agency is headed by Emma Isong, a bishop.
“I charge you, knowing that this responsibility comes with its own troubles, to do that which is good. The selection of this team is based on your history, it is based on your profile, the understanding of your closeness to God and that you will do that which is fair to all manners of people equally and fairly,” said Ayade.
Adding: “We charge you 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”.
The emotionally overwhelmed governor told his audience that it is sad that government which does not meet the needs of the people in many areas still collects tax from them.
Warning tax consultants to stir off poor people and small businesses, Ayade reiterated “all those categories of people and those, who 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”.
“We have exempted all commercial motorcycle riders, taxi drivers, airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points. All those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living, they have been exempted from paying tax.”