*BY OKECHUKWU NWOSU*
The Imo State Government has defended why it resolved to impose N3,000 tax on adult youths in Imo State. It said the decision is backed by relevant and extant Community Government Council and Autonomous communities laws in Imo State.
In a statement by the State Commissioner of Information, Prof Nnamdi Obiareri, he said “the Government’s decision to impose Adult Community Development Levy of N3,000 on all leviable adults in our respective autonomous communities is not a recent decision and has no political undertone as it is for overriding public interest”
He said the letter by the Honourable Commissioner for Community Government, Culture and Traditional Affairs dated April 3rd 2018 under reference is only reiterative and demanding compliance.
Part of Obiareri’s Statement reads “Adult Community Development Levy of N3000 was a product of reasoned, long standing, mutual and beneficial decision between Government and the Community Government Councils (CGC) led by Ndi Eze to fastrack rural development.
“ Implementation of this autochthonous decision contained in this recent reminder letter under reference has been ongoing since 2017 with varying degrees of compliance by different autonomous communities.
“ The principle behind this Autonomous Community Adult Development levy is for every Autonomous Community to raise at least Six million Naira from at least 2000 leviable adults paying N3000 each into their community coffers.
“ When evidence of payment is presented to Government, Government will in turn subvent each complying community with the sum of Four Million Naira totaling Ten Million Naira to be administered by the respective CGC for its rural development purposes.
“ Collection, warehousing and disbursement of this Adult Community Development levy is solely by the CGC of the autonomous communities and never by Imo State Government or its officials.
“ Many Autonomous Communities have started complying by opening their own Bank accounts in their chosen Banks and in the names of their authorised signatories
“ Many Autonomous Communities have also been collecting this development levy without qualms”.
The Commissioner further clarified that “ It is public knowledge that during the certification exercise of thousands of beneficiaries of Rescue Mission Free Education in Tertiary Institutions in 2017, many communities used that window to raise this levy from leviable adult parents and guardians and are keeping them”
He said the the Autonomous Community Adult Development Levy is neither tax nor double taxation, stating that that concept of development levy is not new and unknown to development conscious Imo people.