SIDEC drives tax awareness in Anambra South, advocate tax for service

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In a bid to raise the knowledge of Ndi Anambra on civic obligation to pay their taxes and their rights demand for good governance from government, the Social and Integral Development Centre (SIDEC), has held a one-day sensitization programme on tax on Tax for Service in Anambra State.

The event whichh held at Awka under the Tax for Service project, targeted stakeholders from Anambra South Senatorial District.

The enlightenment gathering which was attended by representatives from the government, markets, communities, civil society, and media converged, urged the Anambra State Government to enhance social services to bolster tax compliance.

In a presentation, the Executive Director of Social & Integral Development Center, SIDEC, Ugochi Agalaba-Ehiahuruike, in a presentation x-rayed findings from a Needs Assessment Study done in major markets in the state, highlighting the specific demands from the different sectors.

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She listed the demands by the traders they worked with to include infrastructure improvements like solar lights, CCTV, pipe borne water, fire trucks, roads and other essential facilities.

She said that despite the challenges with uncooperative market leaders, the emphasis should be Placed on the citizens demand for social services in exchange for the taxes paid.

Going through the 2024 approved state budget, Agalaba-Ehiahuruike revealed that allocations that will take care of the various demands outlined in market and community Charters of Demand are contained in the budget asking them insist on it’s implementation.

In another presentation, Mr. Bruno Chinecherem, emphasized the importance of service delivery in promoting tax compliance and called for streamlined tax payment procedures to avoid confusion and illegal levies.

While unveiling the objectives of Unified Hybrid Enforcement Team, UHBET, the State Media Officer of the team, Mr. Juventus Okoli, reassured participants of a civil and disciplined tax compliance approach.

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He lauded the team’s success in generating over three billion naira in November 2023 and encouraged citizens to report any misconduct by them.

In an interactive session, stakeholders applauded the Tax for Service initiative, describing it as a valuable citizens’ engagement and public enlightenment strategy.

On his part, Dr. Dennis Ekemezie, a public policy analyst and Mrs. Ugochi Freeman commended the initiative but called for additional grassroots mobilization for better understanding of tax obligations and rights.

The later made reference to the failure of the house-to-house refuse collection system as an evidence of improper planning on taxation and it’s use for development purposes.

While appreciating the efforts of SIDEC, the President General, Awa community, Dr. Raymond Offor, emphasised the need for citizens to have a good knowledge of taxes and government programmes.

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He requested for copies of the 2024 budget be distributed to the Anambra State Association of Town Union and market leaders, to be used by them as an advocacy tool to endure transparency and the satisfaction of the citizens with the tax paid by them.

Lamenting, a trader, Mrs. Chioma Okeke, shared her experience with illegal fees collectors, stating the need for protection of tax payers against fraudulent agents.

The event whichh was put together by Social and Integral Development Centre (SIDEC), in partnership with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).

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