Group kicks against multiple levies from Lagos State government
The Union of Tipper and Quarry Employers of Nigeria (UTQEN) has kicked against the plan of the Lagos State Government to introduce multiple haulage charges on their services within the state.
Acting National Chairman of UTQEN, Comrade Aliu Mayungbe, disclosed this at a media briefing in Lagos, saying that the state Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development recently seek to obtain haulage charge from trucks transporting sands from dredging sites.
Mayungbe, said that the plan is unlawful and a disincentive to businesses in the state.
The chairman noted that members of the union had been paying the said charge to the government regularly through the Ministry of Transportation, stressing that effort of Ministry of Waterfront to utilise collection agents to obtain the charges from truck drivers amounts to collecting multiple charges.
According to him, the union maintains a position of neutrality and refuse entanglement in the payment dispute between government and the Dredgers Association of Nigeria.
“Officials from the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development met with our members to solicit support for introduction of haulage fees on our activities.
“The collection process was for truck drivers to obtain N500 from dredgers on each truckload of sand moved from their site and pay to the Ministry's collection agent positioned at the gate of the site.
“We resisted the fees because our activities are not regulated by Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development but by Ministry of Transportation.
“Moreso, the dredgers that we are being pitched against are members of our union
and every increase in charges by government impacts negatively on our operating costs and reduces job creation opportunities,” he said.
Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Chapter, UTQEN, Abimbola Odusanya, said that officials of the ministry threatened to imprison truck drivers that refused to boycott sites of dredgers that didn't comply with the payment.
“Obeying such order will hinder our business activities and relationship with dredgers. We instructed our members to resist efforts of government officials that tried to collect the payment from them,” he said.
Reacting to the issue, President, Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Batare Akpomejero, said a declarative Federal High Court judgment was issued against the State Government and its ministries, to desist from seeking to control commercial activities of dredgers.
“Due to the multiple taxation on our activities from federal and state agencies, the court had ruled that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and NIMASA were the proper and lawful agencies with authority in matters relating to the commercial activities for dredgers.
“To now have officials of the state government lobbying UTQEN through pretense of introducing unauthorised charges to collect fees that the court restrained them from obtaining from us is unlawful,” he said.
Akpomejero stressed that multiple taxation from the government was inimical to business expansion and growth, reduce profit, worsen unemployment rate and discourage investment in the country.