Last weekend’s suspension of the controversial carbon emission levy introduced by Cross River state government has attracted reactions from residents of Calabar, the state capital.
While some respondents hailed the governor’s action, describing it as huge relief, others said the levy should not have been mentioned because, according to them, government has no mechanism to mitigate effects of emission and by extension climate change, adding that the money would have ended up in the pockets of few individuals.
A resident, Ubi Ofem, advised the state Assembly to bring up a legislation repealing the said Law No. 7 which empowered Environment and Carbon Emissions Board to collect the levy, and that the suspension of the collection was not enough as it could be brought up again anytime.
Another resident and critic of Ayade’s administration, Mr. Ifere Paul, reasoned that the suspension of the levy was a victory borne out of the public outcry, and charged the government to unmask the ‘consortium’ of consultants behind several tax schemes in the state
which are healing sorrow on citizens through multiple taxation.
It would be recalled that the introduction of the said levy had generated uproar in the State as residents vowed never to pay any other levy except taxes they were currently paying. Some respondents had said the levy of between N6000 to N15, 000 were imposed on electricity generating plants depending on their sizes and output with owners of restaurants, fashion boutique, printing press, amongst others as targets.
Officials of the Environment and Carbon Emissions Board had explained that they were established in accordance with Schedule 1 of Cross River state Law No. 7 of 2016, and that those involved in charcoal production and sale, logging, slash and burn agriculture, large scale agriculture, bush burning, industrial emission, waste generation and emissions from commercial trucks would have to pay the levy or be taken to court.
But in a press statement signed by Governor Ben Ayade’s spokesman, Christian Ita, the government said “in keeping with the present administration’s resolve not to place too much burden on residents and indigenes of the state on payment of taxes… all consultants and agents associated with the collection of this revenue head are hereby directed to withdraw from the field and halt their activities.”
The statement advised residents not to comply with any such demands from the Board and its consultants, saying any man who parades himself as official or government or consultant and therefore fails “to comply with His Excellency’s directive will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.”