A group, the Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged CENTREP has threatened to sue the Delta State government for introducing a new tax under the Passenger Welfare Scheme.
Executive Director, CENTREP, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, who issued the threat on today in Warri, Delta State, alleged that the new tax would be paid by commuters patronising public transport, Delta State’s lines, across the state.
The tax, according to him, will be collected by private tax consultants to ease the suffering of victims of road accidents.
The group said a letter calling for the reversal of the tax law has been sent to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. The rights activist also alleged that the government has planned to use private tax consultants for the collection of taxes from motorcycle and tricycle operators in the state.
Part of the letter was reported thus: “I have perused the applicable laws on taxation and find that there is no provision for the collection of taxes or levies on account of passenger welfare or from motorcycle and tricycle operators by the state government under Part II of the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended), which prescribes the taxes and levies to be collected by the state government.
“Furthermore, Section 2(1) of the same amended Act specifically prohibits the assessment or collection of taxes or levies on behalf of the government by persons other than the appropriate tax authority which was defined in Section 4 to be (in respect of a state), the State Board of Internal Revenue, government department or any other government body charged with responsibility for assessing and collecting the particular tax.”
Ikimi argued that based on the laws, levies to be collected from commuters under the Passenger Welfare Scheme and the daily tax paid by operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state are illegal taxes as they do not fall within the list of taxes and levies that could be collected by the state government as provided in the above amended Act.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okowa, Mr. Charles Aniagwu failed to respond to an sms sent to him over the threat, when he failed to pick a call put to his mobile line.