Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, has exempted low-income earners and organisations from paying tax in the state.
Governor Ayade announced this at the inauguration of an anti-tax agency headed by Emma Isong, a bishop.
The governor, who broke down in tears, explained that he took the decision as he admitted that the government has struggled to meet the needs of people in many areas, especially social welfare.
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He lamented the level of poverty in the state, saying it was mystifying that some residents still live in mud houses.
He said it is better for him to task his brain than to tax people whose standard of living is inadequate.
“I never knew that five years as governor, there would still be people living in thatched houses in Cross River. I almost cried because I knew how prepared I was but it didn’t end the way I dreamt for the state. I wish God would intervene because I really wish I could help. It’s very painful,” Governor Ayade said.
“I charge you that this responsibility comes with its own troubles, you have a choice to do that which is good and the selection of this team is based on your history, it’s 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. 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.
“Your responsibility from today going forward is to put and end to illicit taxes on people. We I have a tax law here that prescribes the people. We have a tax law here that prescribes the people who are exempted from tax. All those categories of people and those that 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 Okada riders, taxi drivers airport taxi drivers, small saloon owners, small catering and restaurant points popularly called mama put. All those people who sell basic things struggling to earn a living, they have been exempted today from paying tax. We have exempted them because it is better for me as governor to rather task my brain, than to tax my people.”