The attention of the Abia State Government has been drawn to the collection of certain sums of money by the leadership of the Ekeoha Shopping Center Traders Association under the guise of the construction of a FLOWER POT ACCESS ROAD AND OTHER PROJECTS in the market.
Traders have been levied different sums of money ranging between the sums of One Hundred Thousand Naira and One Hundred Thousand Naira and Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira per shop depending on the location of the shop.
The Abia State Government is saddened at this brazen display of illegality and impunity by the leadership of the Ekeoha Shopping Center Traders Association through the imposition of this illegal levy on traders and proceeding to issue demand notices to that effect, with deadlines for payment.
At no time did the State Government approve any such levy, neither has it held any meetings with the Market Association on this subject matter.
The General Public and in particular, traders at the Ekeoha Shopping Center are by this notice informed that these levies are illegal and the notices issued by the Traders Association should be ignored in its entirety.
In addition, Government hereby directs the Traders Association at the Ekeoha Shopping Center to immediately withdraw the demand notices already issued to the traders and as a matter of urgency, refund any such levies already collected from any trader in this regard. This refund must be completed before close of business today, Thursday, 8th August, 2019.
The Government of Abia State shall not stand by and watch a group of traders hiding under the leadership of markets institute a regime of illegality in our markets through the imposition of unauthorized levies on traders.
Government makes it abundantly clear that it will deal decisively with any person or group of persons, by whatever name called, that attempts to make our markets uncomfortable for traders.
For the avoidance of doubt, the only levy approved by the Abia State Government in all markets in the State is a consolidated sum of Eighteen Thousand Naira Only. This sum is a complete package covering all foreseeable levies including ASEPA, ABSAA, Stallage, Fire Service Operations, PPIDF, Personal Income Tax and Business Premises. These levies actually amount to more than Eighteen Thousand Naira but the Governor approved this discounted sum to ensure that traders are not overburdened with levies. Even with the discounted sum, the Governor even approved that the payment can be made in installments. This consolidated levy is payable only once in a year.
It is therefore the height of impunity and administrative rascality for any market union to levy such outrageous sums of money on traders under any guise whatsoever. It is all the more heinous that such actions were taken without the approval of government. The Government of Abia State shall not tolerate such rascality by anyone.
Market Unions and their leadership in all markets in Abia State are hereby warned to desist from such illegal collections as Government will bring its full weight against any person that flouts this directive.
Consequently, the leadership of the Ekeoha Shopping Center Traders Association are hereby summoned to a crucial meeting at the Office of the Deputy Governor, Government House Umuahia, next week Wednesday, 14th August, 2019 at 1pm prompt. All concerned must be seated at the Conference Room of the Deputy Governor’s Office at 12.30pm, unfailingly.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu wishes to reassure traders in all markets across the State and indeed all business owners in the State that his administration is committed to providing a conducive environment that will enable their businesses to thrive for the overall development of Abia State.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
8th August, 2019.