Chairman, Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue, Nimibofa Ayawei and the State Chairman, Environmental Sanitation Authority, Tolu Amatu are in a war of words over alleged harassment, extortion, illegal and unauthorized collection of revenues from business owners in the state by agents and staff of the State Environmental Authority.
It was gathered from business owners in Yenagoa, the city capital and environs that the biggest challenges encountered in their various business places are multiple taxations by different agents of government in the state.
They also revealed that most of them operate without ID cards or any form of identification and if asked to identify themselves they take offence and become violent, harassing business owners alongside security personnel in uniform.
The statement reads, “It has come to the notice of the Bayelsa State Government that agents and staff of the State Environmental Sanitation Authority have consistently engaged in illegal revenue collection activities, harassment and extortion of businesses in the State”
”Therefore, at the 9th meeting of the Tax/ IGR Advisory and Review Committee (TARC) held on 12th August 2022, the decision was taken to suspend all revenue collection activities of the State Environmental Sanitation Authority. In effect, the general public and business owners are hereby advised to stop all payments to the Environmental Sanitation Authority until further notice and to report such agents to the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue for necessary action.
But, the State Environmental Sanitation Authority, Chairman, Tolu Amatu in a swift reaction debunked the claims, noting that it is only the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, that can direct the immediate suspension of the revenue collection activities and not the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue or any other.
Hon. Amatu in a statement enjoined the general public and business owners to disregard the said announcement.
The statement also said, “For the avoidance of doubt, we want to stress unequivocally, that at no point in time was the Executive Chairman of the State Environmental Sanitation Authority, Tolu Amatu or any representative from his office was invited to attend the 9th meeting of the Tax/IGR advisory and review committee (TARC) on the 12th August 2022, where the said decision to suspend our activities until further notice was taken.
Consequently, it is important to note that the state Environmental Sanitation Authority was established by law and as such, it is only, the State Governor, Douye Diri, that can direct the immediate suspension of our revenue collection activities and not the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue or any other.