1 February 2013

Nigeria: ECCIMA Alleges Multiple Taxation By Enugu Govt

Enugu — Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture [ECCIMA], yesterday, raised an alarm over multiple taxation and arbitrary levy collection going on in Enugu State, saying the development has constituted major impediments to business activities in the state.

This came as the 2012 highest academic award winner in Medicine, Prof Samuel Ohuabunwa called on Nigerians to always strive to improve themselves in their chosen professions and leave their recognition to God.

Speaking at the 39th annual general meeting of the chamber, ECCIMA President, Dr Theo Okonkwo, called on the state government to do all within its powers to stop the disturbing cases of multiple taxation and levies which, he said, had seriously discouraged investment in the state.

He stated that it was disheartening that while state government agencies were charging and collecting various levies, local government councils were also charging businesses based on the same levies, stressing that it was adding to the cost of doing business in the state.

Okonkwo, who though praised government efforts in checking decongestion of the city centre from indiscriminate parking, noted the excesses and abuses of the effort by government officials and called on the government to check the trend to avoid presenting a wrong picture of the state.

He said, "We suggest that appropriate and visible signage be put in place to guide motorists where to park and where not to. We also would wish to partner with the Ministry to create parking lots in strategic areas of the city to provide plausible alternatives and guide against people not finding convenient places to park their cars".

He said that the country's business economy was still beleaguered with a number of challenges particularly infrastructural deficit, stressing that despite the official data from the Bureau of Statistics for the last quarter of 2012 placing the country as 3rd fastest growing economy, poverty and unemployment had remained high.

The chamber president said that there was no way investment and business climate could be seen to be friendly and ordinarily attractive with the spate of rising sophisticated crime in the country, stressing that government should redouble efforts to check crimes.

He called for the inclusion of the organized private sector in the Sure-P program, stressing that it would work to boost employment of the teeming Nigerian youths.

At a reception in his honour, Ohaegbulam told the crowded audience inside the conference centre of Roban Hotels Enugu, that although, he was excited with the national honour, he was not surprised, following his many years of outstanding medical practice and contribution to education.

He noted that despite his age, he was committed to continuous learning to keep improving in the profession.

On Nigeria, the celebrated African neurosurgeon said the future of the country would remain bleak unless corruption was tackled at all fronts, adding "and I believe we can succeed and forge ahead, we have the capacity and potentials of emerging as a world super power in science and technology and even become the economic hub of Africa".

Reflecting further on the grand reception, Prof. Ohaegbulam, described the gesture as a practical demonstration of love by a man who neither comes from the same local government nor belongs to the same profession.

According to him "I was moved when he said he was celebrating my award because this is not the practice in Nigeria, where only deaths or Ofala festivals are celebrated, I praise him, I thank him with all my heart and just like late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe said when he was sworn-in-as governor-general" with humility and joy, I welcome all those who have come here to share in my joy today".

Earlier, Dr. Eddie Mbadiwe, had explained that he decided to celebrate the award with a cocktail party because of his love for education and excellence, stressing that the award conferred on Prof. Sam Ohaegbulam by president Good luck Jonathan in December last year, after several years of successful medical practice, had demonstrated that hard work would never go unnoticed.

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