Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has assured the people of the state of a quick economic recovery in 2017, just as he announced the prohibition of private revenue and tax collectors in the state.
He gave the assurance in his New Year broadcast, saying he would not betray the confidence reposed in him by the people
Thanking the people for entrusting him with the responsibility to take charge and steer the socio-economic and political destiny of the state, the governor acknowledged that although 2016 was harsh, 2017 would be better.
“Undoubtedly, the economic recession unleashed unprecedented difficulties on individuals, families and communities as no aspect of our economic and social life was spared the severe economic hardship,” he said.
He observed that the combined effect of the drop in the price of crude oil and the vandalism of pipelines occasioned a decline in the value of the nation’s currency and consequent closure of industries and businesses with ultimate job losses, rise in unemployment level, crime and poverty in the land.
Governor Obaseki described the coronation of Oba Ewaure II and his election as governor of the state as two memorable events in the state in particular and the nation in general in 2016.
“By providence, we had the opportunity to show the world the rich tradition and culture of the Edo civilisation during the coronation of our most revered Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Eware II, the 40th Oba of the Benin Kingdom.
“This generational display of splendour and culture fortuitously coincided with my victory and inauguration as the fifth governor of Edo State,” he said, adding: “These challenges and changes in the outgoing year, offer us an opportunity to create a society where we can utilise our historic, cultural and logistic advantages for economic prosperity and social stability.”
He disclosed that his administration would put in place mechanisms, policies and programmes that would galvanise the economy of the state and make it a haven for investments.
According to the governor, with effect from yesterday, only employees of government can collect taxes and levies in the state.
“I must quickly mention that one issue that continues to agitate Edo people is the lawless activities of some individuals who persist in harassing and extorting innocent citizens under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.
“The laws of our country vests the responsibility for collecting taxes exclusively on the three tiers of government, including federal, state and local governments.
“Consequently, with effect from today, all arrangements to collect taxes or levies entered into by any state or local government agency in Edo State, ceases to be valid with effect from today,’’ Obaseki said.
He urged citizens not to heed any form of intimidation from any quarters, but said any person or group of persons being harassed by these illegal persons over tax should call or alert law enforcement agencies.
The governor also stressed that the development of Gelegele as a port and industrial zone was of high priority to the government and people of Edo as it will improve the state economic competitiveness.
“I have set up a seven-member committee headed by Mr. Gregory Ero, to establish Gelegele, as a foremost economic and industrial hub in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He urged the people to remain steadfast and be hopeful, encouraging them to be tolerant of one another, share and show love to one another.