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Sealing of Businesses Over Tax: Azubogu asks Obiano to act with restraint

Says strategy ill-timed; businesses yet to recover from COVID-19 lockdown interruption


A federal lawmaker, Engr. Chris Emeka Azubogu has described as disturbing, the reported closure of some markets in Anambra by a Task Force said to be working for the State Government on tax related matters.

The lawmaker, who spoke through his media office, explained that closure of markets or businesses at a time most businesses are yet to recover from the devastating effect of the COVID-19 lockdown is not only ill-timed but would appear insensitive.

It will be recalled that Azubogu had earlier, in his August new month message, while calling for post lockdown job-driven policy direction, noted that “this is not the time to increase taxes / levies but a time to help businesses grow and create jobs”.

The lawmaker who currently represents Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency in the House of Representatives reiterated that most businesses are still struggling to survive in the post COVID -19 lockdown economy.

He added that some of them had used part of their business capital to keep body and soul together during the lockdown.

“I believe that our state government should, as a matter of policy adjustment, meet with these business owners to sort out whatever disagreements there are, instead of forcefully locking up their shops at this critical time.

“Government should bear more the burden brought about by COVID-19 lockdown; not pass same to dying or struggling businesses that needs government support to survive” he said.

Engr. Azubogu counseled the state government to focus more on how to cut down cost of governance as a way of cushioning the sharp drop in revenue and not force the burden on already weakened businesses.

His words:

“I believe that the state Government should cut down cost of governance as a strategy for surviving in the troubled post-lockdown economy.

“Yes, Government at all levels are faced with shortfalls in their revenue projections occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But shifting the burden to businesses, to the extent of closing some business outlets in the state, is not a good one for a state that is hungry for businesses and job creating platforms in the face of post COVID-19 economy challenges”.

The University of Nigeria Nsukka trained Engineer, nicked named #MrProject by constituents appreciative of his sterling performance, stressed that governments, in the post COVID-19 lockdown economy, should be more concerned on how to retain businesses operating in their states, instead of closing existing ones.

Consequently, he appealed to Gov. Willie Obiano to direct the relevant ministries and their respective commissioners to resolve whatever issues that led to closure of markets by the state task forces.

“My point is that the timing of this enforcement is in conflict with the economic realities on ground occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic; and I want this resolved.

“I appeal to His Excellency, Gov. Willie Obiano to direct those concerned to find a way to navigate our state economy away from the red line to a point of safety where private businesses will be strong enough to thrive and create jobs for our people” he concluded.

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