Rivers: PDP Faction rejects Contribution Levy Act
A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State that is known as the ''Founding Members Group'' has rejected Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration's Social Levy Act which was passed last week by the state House of Assembly and immediately signed into law by the governor.
The Levy Act did not enjoy the support of some members of the legislative arm of the state government who are seeing it as another form of taxation on citizens.
In an on-line statement to AkanimoReports on Tuesday, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP faction, Mr. Jerry Needam, said, ''after due consultation and thorough analysis of the near-draconian social services levy act being foisted on the state and its residents by Governor Amaechi, we hereby condemn and reject outrightly the desperate law.''
According to him, ''our stand taken on this issue is derived from a constitutional provision which makes taxation the exclusive preserve of the National Assembly.
''Besides, Amaechi stands to tell posterity why the second richest state in the federation after Lagos State must double-tax its citizens and residents just to maintain social infrastructure and services which are provided elsewhere just for the normal taxes paid and payable''.
The rest of their statement went thus:
''It behooves the governor to also explain to Rivers people what modalities are or will be put in place to ensure that all those who may enlist to benefit from the educational and health services in the State, especially those from outside Rivers State , actually have a part to play in sustaining the trust fund. Or will this be another case of punishing Rivers people to benefit outsides who can capitalize on the situation to send their children to boarding schools in the State even when they are not resident in the State and cannot be taxed for the services.
''We are bewildered to see a governor, who claims that he saves N1 billion every month from the several tens of billion that accrue to the State monthly, insist in having the State legislature authorize him to force the levy down the throats of the same people who have this surplus, throwing caution and decorum to the wind and returning to the assembly to pressurize for a dead bill to be passed by all means.
''Amaechi is yet to convince Rivers people on his actual intention to impose this multiple taxation on them even when they are yet to benefit from the taxes they pay as they clearly generate their own light, drill out their own water and produce other social services by themselves.
''If Amaechi internally generated revenue cannot yield amply in an economically viable and obviously rich State like Rivers, then the social services levy, even if implemented, will only be a means of lining the pockets of those who share creed and imaginations with him as government will also not benefit from it.
''The zeal and obstinacy with which the governor is going about the actualization of the levy leaves one wondering whether the law is for the good of the State or just for the benefit of those behind it.
''By clear definition, laws are made to cater for the wellbeing of the people, and are made for the people and not the people for the laws. Therefore, it is most baffling that despite the total rejection of the law by the people and all professional groups in the State, the governor is still pushing for it, so much so that he threatened to discredit the assembly before the people(?) if they do not pass the executive bill into law.
''Rather than partner with professional bodies who know and have counseled that existing taxes in the State can buoy it to successfully fund the education and health sectors, all the governor wants is the power to forcefully deep into the pockets of the already impoverished Rivers people and scratch out what is left in them to satisfy his whims.
''He seems to disagree that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Perhaps only his voice is the voice of God, if short being one above the voice of God.
''Amaechi must accept that the people have spoken. He must accept that he is only a servant of the people and should not foist on them what they have outrightly rejected.
''On several occasions he has stated that he is not a monarch, but on several occasions he has led life like a most intolerant monarch.''