Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River, has exempted some persons and organisations from paying tax in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of an anti-tax agency headed by Emma Isong, a bishop, the governor said that it is sad that government which does not meet the needs of the people in many areas still collects tax from them.
He said it better for him to “task my brain” than to expect tax from people who are still struggling.
The governor said as he went round the state, he noticed the level of poverty which has made some people to stay in mud houses.
Ayade, who broke down in tears, said: “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.”
He said if it pleases God, He should take his wealth so that other people in the state could be rich.
“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,” he said.
“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.”