Lawyer threatens court action against Okowa over welfare tax

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has been urged to halt the plan to collect taxes and levies  from commuters under the Passenger Welfare Scheme.

A legal practitioner and human rights activist, Oghenejabor Ikimi, in a petition sent to the governor and made available to Community News on Friday in Warri, threatened to approach the court  if his advice is not heeded within seven days.

Ikimi described the levies to be collected by private consultants from commuters  as well as the tax paid on a daily basis by operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state on a daily basis as illegal.

He said such did not fall within the list of taxes and levies that could be collected by the state government as provided under Part II of the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended), which prescribes the taxes and levies to be collected by the state government.

“It has come to my notice that your office has just introduced a tax regime under what is called the Passenger Welfare Scheme to be paid by commuters patronising public transport vehicles within and across Delta State’s lines and that the said tax or levy is to be collected by private tax consultants to ameliorate the suffering of victims of road accident.

“I am also aware of the tax paid daily by operators of motorcycles and tricycles in Delta State  through the purchase of government tickets of N100 and N150 respectively,” Ikimi said.

He added that apart from being illegal, the tax under the Passenger Welfare Scheme and the levies paid by motorcycle and tricycle operators “is prohibited and punishable under Section 3 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended).”