In response to public outcry against a move by the Uyo local government council to effect a licensing tax on electronic items sold by businesses operating within the local government within the, the Chairman of the council, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo has noted that the act is a legitimate one according to constitutional provisions defining the powers of the local government.
Residents of the area had taken to social media to protest the taxation move, describing it as being harsh, especially considering the present economic situation, while electronic business operators were worried about how their customers will assimilate the new development, as they fear the council may not have created enough awareness before implementation.
Speaking with our correspondent, Dr. Udo referred to the fourth schedule (section 1b) which lists licencing of general electronics as part of the functions the local government is empowered by the constitution to perform, while also hinting that Part XV(5) of the Uyo Local Government Bye-laws 2021 authorizes these taxes as well.
He further stressed that from the point of being elected, he had understudied the laws relating to the local government and its functions in order to know the limits of his powers and would never act out the context of the law.
While admitting that he understands the concerns from the public, especially considering that such constitutional provisions are not well known by citizens, the Chairman also stressed that the present time is not when to depend wholely on federal allocation, as economic realities have made it imperative for the council to activate every possible source of revenue generation, provided they are legitimate, in order to be able to meet the expectations of the electorates and make them feel the impacts of local government administration.
However, in a statement signed by the Revenue Officer for the council and made available to ALL FACTS, the chairman has announced a suspension of the move while directing its consultant, Pasty Resources Limited to stay action on the move till further notice.
Reacting to this, the chairman said the suspension is only temporal and the idea was to show sensitivity to the plight of citizens. He however noted that the suspension will allow the council sufficient time to figure out a more sensitive approach to effecting the said taxation.