Illegal taxes institutionalized in Cross River – Boss of the anti-tax agency

Bishop Emmah Isong

May 21 (THEWILL) – The Chairman of the Cross River State Anti-Tax Agency, Bishop Emmah Isong has said that illegal taxation has been institutionalized in the state.

Bishop Isong said the vice was deep-rooted and was seen as a regulation for the boys and became business as usual.

He added, however, that the agency is not deterred by this and is becoming well positioned to deal with the threat.

The Anti Tax boss made the revelation in Calabar at a brief event, to mark the commission’s second anniversary.

He said: “Illegal taxation became institutionalized because it became a reward for boys after elections.

“Nobody will win the election if they don’t promise tax points to certain people.

“It’s a rulebook for the boys and it’s become business as usual,” he said.

He added, however, that despite this, the agency is moving forward to rid the state of illegal tax collectors.

Giving an account of the agency in two years, he said there had been a 40% reduction in illegal taxes in the state and he had intervened in multiple cases of abuse of rights.

“We’re not where we’re supposed to be yet, but we’re not where we used to be.

“40% of illegal taxes have been removed and that’s a fair mark and we have intervened in several areas where people’s rights have been violated

“Local government officials were employed and deployed to all 18 local government areas in the state and we also liaised and interfaced with other branches of government,” he said.

He called for increased budget allocation and financial empowerment of the agency to update its functions.

He also called on the government to outlaw some agencies that have given the government a bad name for its good intentions towards the people.

Also, some politicians who practice illegal taxation should be punished and not allowed to hold public office.

He added that the agency which was created as a post-COVID-19 measure and as a palliative to cushion the effect of the lockdown should be made permanent and statutory as this is the only hope for the poor.

The Anti-Fiscal Agency was created by the state’s Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, as a post COVID-19 palliative to help rid the state of the threat of illegal taxes.

The agency is staffed exclusively by clergymen from across the state.

Esther L. Steinbach