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Traders, artisans called for caution and more time as the Oyo State Presumptive Tax Bill 2023 was on Wednesday subjected to public hearing by the joint Oyo House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation and Commerce and Cooperatives.

At the hearing held at the House of Chiefs, Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan, they cautioned the state government against foisting on them what they regarded as high taxes, apart from subjecting them to multiple taxation.

This is as they noted that the list of those traders and artisans to be charged presumptive tax was not exhaustive, while they cautioned the state House of Assembly against passing into law tax rates that was not an agreement between their associations and the state government.

Making his presentation at Wednesday’s public hearing, Chairman, Oyo State Market Men and Women, Mr S. A. Jimoh warned the state Assembly against hasty passage of the bill into the law, asking that market leaders be allowed time to get back to their members on the presumptive tax.

Also speaking, Babaloja General, Oyo State, Mr Y.K. Abass enjoined the state government to begin the presumptive tax regime with small rates so as to have more traders and artisans pay rather than imposing high rates that only a few would pay.

He argued that business owners were already over burdened by the harsh economy to be subjected to another round of high taxes.

Speaking, President, Ibadan Market Leaders Council, Mr Daud Oladepo said they feared multiple taxation as they had to pay levies, rates to local government among other fronts.

On his part, Mr Salaudeen Kamorudeen of Progressive Tradesmen Association called for moderation in the drive for collection of the presumptive tax, just as he said there were several other members of the informal sector yet to be captured in the bill.

Some other stakeholders decried government’s use of consultants to collect revenue, saying the heads of associations should be trusted and tasked to help government collect the taxes.

Some professionals asked the state to consider a flat rate for all in the informal sector, and questioned what would happen to those who own multiple business enterprises in the state.

Addressing the concerns, Chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYIRS), Mr Femi Awakan said over 142 groups of traders and artisans had now been captured under the presumptive tax regime.

He said the the OYIRS continue to enlighten relevant bodies against multiple taxation and illegal collection of government revenue.

According to Awakan, the state government was statutorily empowered to collect taxes while the local government was meant to collect levies.

Earlier, the committee heads, Honourables Sunkanmi Babalola and Rasaq Mabaje said the state proposed the presumptive tax bill for the state to expand its tax rate thereby having more funds to fulfill demands of governance.

Also speaking, Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State, Mr Sikiru Sanda stressed that the state cannot continue to rely on federal allocation hence the need to generate revenue internally for development of the state.

Sanda called for the set up of a task force to sanction those who default in paying their taxes, just as he said those who regularly pay their taxes should get some added benefits, incentives from government.

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