Street Trading, Non-Payment Of Govt Levies: Abia Govt To Go Tough On Defaulters

Following observed abysmal compliance by most Aba traders in the payments of their statutory and government approved annual levies, and the growing menace of street trading indications have emerged that the Abia state authorities may be forced to go tough on defaulters.

This is even as the Chairman of all Chairmen of Aba Markets, Sir Alphonsus Udeigbo has appealed to the various market leaderships in the commercial hub of the state to lead the charge for the payments of government taxes by the traders, so as to avoid any unpalatable consequences. reports that with the December, 2023 deadline for the payments of all government approved annual levies/taxes, fast approaching, most of the traders are yet to fulfil their statutory obligations.

Similarly, with the October 2023 timeline issued by the authorities for traders to vacate major streets and relocate their businesses to the various markets already aspired, with no signs of compliance on sight, the state government appears set to wield the big stick.

Sir Udeigbo who spoke during a familiarization tour of Aba markets on Wednesday November 22,  2023 lamented that some of the market leaderships that are supposed to be at the forefront of sensitizing and appealing to their members to assist the government by paying their taxes and levies have not really been alive to their responsibilities.

“How can you convince others to pay when you the leaders are seen not to have paid yours? A good leadership is that which leads by good example.

So, I am appealing to all of us to wake up and help in this task of rebuilding the state. There is no magic the government will perform if we do not discharge our obligations.

The government has even gone ahead to slash the levies from the initial N21,000 to N18,000 in deference to our appeals. I am urging us to reciprocate this display of caring leadership on the part of the government.

Chief Udeigbo who is also the chairman of the interim Management Committee of Eziukwu Road market decried the activities of road side traders, noting that their activities not only hinder free flow of vehicular and human traffic, but negatively impact on the internally generated revenue profile of the state.

The duo of Dr Uche Anyanwu and Chief Ezinna Ogbonna, Heads of the Interim Management teams of Ngwa Road and Good Morning Markets respectively, appealed to Gov Alex Otti to urgently intervene to halt road side trading as the trend is militating against government and traders inside the markets. 

Chief Ogbonna stated that the Abia state authorities are losing about N500 million at the market annually to the activities of the street traders.

“Inside the markets there are about 3000 thousand empty shops. These road side traders are not encouraging people to come inside. Those who are inside cannot sustain their activities because the road side traders will hijack the business. Those outside do not pay government approved levies, but settle some touts which is a huge loss to the government, “Ogbonna stated.

Dr Anyanwu, who said that the leadership of the Ngwa Road market met some challenges which it has been tackling albeit successfully, however, decried the huge threat posed to business activities at the market by the inaccessibility of most of the connecting roads/ streets.

“Most connecting roads to the market have been blocked, by both road side traders and motorists/ tricycle operators. The most pronounced is the Ngwa Road by East Road, which has been taken over by motorists. This is a very important connecting road to the market and its blockage is negativity affecting business activities at the market,” Dr Anyanwu stated.

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