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Aba traders decry multiple levies

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From Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia

Traders at the Ngwa Road Market popularly known as Ahia Ohuru (New Market) have decried the continued imposition of multiple levies, harassment, intimidation and locking up of their stalls by market union leaders.

Some of the contentious levies include income tax (N3,600); Stallage fee (N2,000); Infrastructural levy (N2,000); Sanitation levy (N3,600); Security levy (N2,000) and Renewal of Abia State Signage Agency levy (N3,000).

Others are scooping of gutter levy (N800); Fire Service levy (N2,000); Renewal of Business Premises (N2,000) and Fire Extinguisher levy (N2,000).

It was gathered that the state last year pegged all market levies at N18,000, termed consolidated revenue. But despite this and court orders that only government-approved levies should be collected, the market leaders do otherwise. They still collect unapproved levies with the help of police, hoodlums and vigilantes. Traders who did not pay the N2,000 ‘Fire Extinguisher’ levy had their shops locked.

A trader, Eke, said the fire extinguishers were paid for previously and nothing was supplied to them.

Another trader, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “We are revolting because of our stalls are being locked up because of N2,000 fire extinguisher fee, and if you delay, it will be increased to N3,000. No fire extinguisher was given us the last time we paid for it.”

They, however, vowed to resist such levies henceforth.

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