Buhari promises to end illegal tax collections

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday he was shocked  to learn that illegal tax collections still existed in the country.

However, he stated that the Federal Government would immediately look into the issue with a view to ending the practice despite the fact that ‘‘old habits die hard”.

The President, who spoke when the leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria paid him a visit, said ending illegal tax collection would encourage private businesses  to grow.

The AUFCDN delegation was led by Alhaji Ali Tahir.

Buhari made the promise to end the illegal practice as he responded to a request by the association urging the government to intervene and end it.

‘‘I am appalled to learn that these illegal tax collections still persist. Bad habits are not easily dropped,” a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted the President as telling the visitors.

‘‘But let me assure you that  the relevant security agencies will be reminded of their duties to  prevent these bad practices and safeguard people like you who go about their legitimate business.

‘‘I will take up all your appeals and complaints in due course and together with state governments, we will attend to your proposals.”

Buhari described the association and its line of business as very strategic to the economy of the country.

He said, ‘‘The merchandise and products you trade in are basic to any economy.

“The real wealth of this country lies in agriculture and livestock rearing.”

The President cited the examples of countries like Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark that he said relied largely on agriculture and livestock  for big  earnings.

The General Secretary of the association, Alhaji Ahmed Alarama, assured the President of their support for his re-election on February 16.

On the issue of illegal tax, he informed the President that on major highways, there were illegal collection points.

He added, ‘‘Roadblocks are mounted by unknown persons on highways including those in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Imo and Bayelsa states and these continue to constitute a hindrance to our businesses.’’

The association commended the government’s efforts  to complete  the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
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