Group Caution Igbo Traders Against ‘Ethnicizing’ Business in Kwara

Group Caution Igbo Traders Against ‘Ethnicizing’ Business in Kwara

… says group solidarity can’t erase individual tax liability

A leading Pro-Democracy group, Kwara Must Change has cautioned igbo traders in ilorin against weaponizing ethnicity in their dispute with state authorities over enforcement of tax laws in the state.

The group said that turning disputes over tax liability into ethnic protest is the height of insensitivity by the igbo traders association and an attempt to blackmail the Kwara State government.

In a statement by the Convener of Kwara Must Change, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the group said that tax laws in Kwara State are enforced on all businesses in the state, not on the basis of tribe, sex or religion, but on the basis of business and volume of transactions and turning tax related dispute into ethnic protest is the height of insensitivity.

According to Hamzat, businesses making money in the state should pay their fair share of taxes so that they can hold the government accountable to its responsibilities.

“All businesses in the state are benefiting from infrastructure and enabling environment provided by the state and it is improper to attempt to scandalize the state government through malacious ethnic protest, in an attempt to evade tax or shortchange government”.

Hamzat explained that tax underpayment amounts to shortchanging the government and, by extension, the people of Kwara State, and this will affect the pace of development in the state.

He admonished the traders to operate within the ambit of the state law to seek redress over any tax related dispute rather than resort to unnecessary ethnic blackmail, saying group solidarity will not erase individual tax liabilities.

“Traders associations don’t owe taxes, neither can they dictate tax liabilities of their members, individual businesses are taxed based on law and if the state authorities says certain businesses are owing taxes, those businesses should engage the authority inline with laid down rules and regulations, not create their own rule and attempt to coerce the authority into succumbing to their dictate through ethnic blackmail.”