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Petrol dealers shut down stations in Ebonyi

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Petrol Dealers Association in Ebonyi State has shut down all petrol stations across the state due to the alleged high taxation and fines imposed on them by the Ebonyi State Board of Internal Revenue Office.

This has caused panic in the state, leading to a hike in transportation fares by commercial motorcyclists, tricycle operators, and commercial buses plying within and outside the state capital.

According to Mr Silas Njaka, the State Chairman of the Association, the shutdown came after the State IGR board fined some members of the union following a suit filed against them.

He explained that the trouble started when the leadership of the Board of Internal Revenue requested the association’s members to commence the payment of Pay As You Earn Income Tax, which was resisted while others complied.

He expressed regret that while other states in the South East waived the payment of income tax for its members, the Ebonyi State Government imposed the tax on them despite several agitations.

“Our members in Enugu, Abia, Imo, and Anambra States do not pay the Pay As You Earn Income Tax, so why must Ebonyi’s case be different,” he said.

He further explained that it is unconstitutional to pay the tax to those earning below N30,000, and most of the workers on their payroll earn less than that.

“Just recently, the Board fined our members N500,000 for non-compliance with the payment and thereafter dragged us to the State High Court in Abakaliki,” he added.

In solidarity, members of the union shut down all the stations in the state to enable them to appear in court to witness the court proceedings. “Our task force team from Enugu will also be in the state every appearance date to ensure that all the stations in the state remain shut pending the determination of the matter,” he noted.

The matter came up for hearing, and it was adjourned till next week Monday. Meanwhile, the union has resolved to shut down the stations across the state any day they are appearing in court for the matter.

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