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Multiple taxes irk Abia school owners

The Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Abia State chapter, Mr Okey Ufomba, has said his members are facing difficulties because their respective…

The Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Abia State chapter, Mr Okey Ufomba, has said his members are facing difficulties because their respective schools are being taxed by multiple agencies in the state.  

He said private schools were mandated to pay up to N450,000 per annum as tax to the state government irrespective of the category of the school, adding that “regrettably, the money may not be getting to the government treasury.”

  Mr Ufomba made the assertion in an interview in Umuahia. He said schools were taxed heavily by various agencies.

 “There is a way revenue is being collected in this state. We have always told the government that you don’t compensate stakeholders with state revenue but in Abia State stakeholders take collection of revenue as contract and they embark on extortion from schools. The schools are hot product, because there are many private schools,”  he said.

 Ufomba said education authorities allegedly connived with some proprietors to carry out shoddy deals.  

“They are expected to monitor the private schools, in terms of quality of teachers, but they approve anything they see at schools after collecting money illegally. They don’t know the calibre of teachers and the environment. 

“This has given rise to unqualified teachers in private schools in the state, but we have set up a task force to do what the government is supposed to do. 

 “The private schools sector has always been very supportive, by way of revenue. We generate over N100 million for Abia annually but our worry is, does this money get to government coffers?

“Does it get to them? This is my worry. Our worry is that most of this revenue we pay does not get to Abia State government,” the proprietors’ chairman said.

 He said members of the association paid for over 50 different taxes to different government agents which resulted in each member paying more than N450,000 annually. 

Ufomba listed some of the levies to include, infrastructure levy, N50,000 -N200,000; fire extinguisher, N25,000-N45,000; advert fee, N5,000-N50,000; borehole, N7,500- N25,000; and Consumer Protection Council fee, N10,000-N20,000.

 Others were ASEPA Bucket, N2,500-N10,000; environmental levy, N10,000-N24,000; operational permit, N5,000 -N10,000; business premises, N5,000-N10,000; and Ministry of Education annual renewal fee, N20,000-N80,000.

 He said the rates differed from one school to another depending on the presence or absence of nursery, primary and secondary sections in a building.

 He said there was need for the state government to stop taxing private schools indiscriminately if it required them to remain in business and support the education sector’s growth. 

“The government should have pity on us because if they continue like this, we will not remain in business for long and the people of the state will suffer the consequences,” he said. 

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