The Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) Abia State, Aba chapter has unanimously decided to withdraw their services of table water packaging due to new 100,000 tax demand by the Abia State Signage and Advertisement Agency(ABSAA).
The association gave the current position on Thursday in a press conference at Aba.
According to the Abia state chairman of ATWAP, Hon. Ejikeme Uzoma, he said in a letter signed April 19, 2022 sent to the association reads that there is a new tax on annual advert, signage fee and mobile advert for the operational vehicles of ATWAP members.
Hon. Ejikeme also recalled that as of last year, the Association of Table Water Producers were paying only 10,000 naira to ASSAA as signage fee which all members Of the association complied with. He expressed shock on the new demand notice of 100,000 naira notice sent to ATWAP by ASSAA.
While expressing disappointment on the high taxation, Hon. Ejikeme insisted that they only process water and they are not producers of water to be handed such high tax on signage fee by ASSAA.
“In his words: “What do we do? We process water, we don’t produce water. We package it in a waterproof that is fit for human consumption. what is our profit from a sachet of water? Yet we are employers of labour.”
Hon. Ejikeme also lamented on the high cost of production in packing water which he referred to as “an essential commodity and essential services been rendered to the society”.
“As of January this year, the cost of a drum of diesel was only 35,000 naira but as of today, the cost of a drum of diesel is 140,000 naira and the cost of sachet water is still the same.” Hon. Ejikeme said.
Hon. Ejikeme also narrated how he has engaged the general manager is ASSAA on the excessive demand which he said is not payable.
“He said we must pay the 100,000 naira and the best he can do is for us to pay 50,000. Some of our members cannot afford 50,000 to buy rolls. A kilogram of waterproof is sold for 1,700 naira, if you calculate what 50,000 naira will do, it will give us at least up to four rolls, and you are asking a man whose capital is not up to 50,000 to pay 50,000. Indirectly what you are asking the person to do is to close up shop.” Hon Ejikeme said.
“I have pleaded with the general manager of ASSAA, but it looks as if my plea is falling on deaf ears. Every effort to discuss this issue further have proved abortive.
“We have unanimously decided to withdraw our services, hence they go out, their vehicles will be impounded. As we withdraw our services to the public, it will send signal to the entire community.” Hon. Ejikeme added.
Hon. Ejikeme also recalls that the Abia state government has a consolidated revenue in place which authorizes the Abia state Board of Internal revenue to issues them demand notices to what they can pay and they have an existing notice of 10,000 naira payment for signage and advertisement on their vehicles.
ATWAP also affirmed that the 2020 tax law implemented in Abia state has enable them do business conveniently in the state before the current interference of ASAA.
“After we had paid the 10,000 naira consolidated revenue, some parastatals keep knocking our doors and impounding our vehicles, disturbing our legitimate businesses. How do we pay with the harsh situation in the town? Within the few days we have to do business, tauts in the town will impound vehicles. What is he telling us? To close up business in Aba?”.
ATWAP, Aba chapter is calling on the government of Abia state and the Abia state Board of Internal Revenue to come to their aide and ask ASSAA to stay clear of their businesses.