Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tricycle operators protest alleged multiple taxation in Abia


Ikpeazu



ABA—TRICYCLE  operators in Aba, Abia State have  called on the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu to remove multiple taxes levied on them by government in the commercial city to enable them feed their families and meet other responsibilities of life.
The operators who protested the multiple taxation and extortion levied on them by their parent Union, Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators’ Association, ASATOA, and the police yesterday said their burdens were back-breaking.
The operators who spoke to Press  at Osisioma Expressway junction during the protests said that they had endured much injustice from the revenue collectors who also beat them and spoil their tricycles.
They said these were happening because government had looked the other way.
The operators also asked to be allowed to form an association that would cater for their needs stressing that ASATOA, foisted on them by the past regime, was not representing them well.
Mr Ugwunna Onyeji, their leader, said that they pay over N16,000 in taxes every month to government and the police, leaving them with insufficient funds to feed their families.
“Because we do not have such freedom, we have persons who call themselves our leaders, whose business is to make money off our backs criminally,” he said.
But the government does not know what troubles us neither do they send people to know our plight. Yet every day, we get new taxes from government to pay” he said.
He said “We are called a union yet meetings are not held, members do not hear of any plan for or against them from their leaders before it is implemented and decisions are made arbitrarily. ASATOA is
undemocratic”
“We wake up every day to hear of increase in taxes through ticket money. They collect money for peat registration, (N3000), Welfare fund (N50.00) weekly yet if any member dies or gets an accident nothing is done for him, In total we are paying more than N16,000 monthly. And they use the police to enforce it on us and then they lean on the police and when you protest, the police comes after you”, he said.
Another member of the group Mr Okechukwu Abarikwu said that it is good to pay taxes and that they are not against such since it aids development.
He however noted that their pain is that they pay taxes even more than big transport companies operating in the state.
“If you get to Alaoji, you will register with N3,000 and everyday you work,  you pay them N300 there, which amounts to N9, 000 a month. We now find it difficult to maintain our tricycles. Then at Ariaria junction, you pay them N150.00 daily added to the N9,000 it would be N12, 500 monthly. Now we are taxed N200.00 at Osisioma add that to N12, 500 and you will get N16,000″ he said.
“They are also collecting (N20.00) loading money from us anywhere you stop and carry passenger. This is very bad because it leaves us with no money to meet our financial obligations. So government should help us”.