Reactions are trailing the decision of Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, to slam levies of up to N100,000 on bereaved families who may want to paste obituary posters in any part of the State.
The citizens are also complaining about the new taxes imposed on residents of the State to take care of sanitation and related matters. And they are coming barely few weeks after a recent increment in taxes for commercial tricycle operators and shuttle drivers, which sparked protests by the two groups in the State.
The board of Anambra State Waste Management Authority (ASWAMA) had placed a ban on street dumping of refuse in the state, a practice to be replaced with house to house refuse collections, with effect from 30th September.
ASWAMA Managing Director, Mike Ozoemena, while featuring on the radio programme, “Anambra Tax Matters,” said the new taxes, which would be paid by all residents, including rural dwellers, took effect from October 1.
He said more waste collection trucks would be procured and fuelled for waste disposal, adding that more waste bins would also be purchased and placed at strategic locations across the state for effective waste collection and management.
On the new burial levy, Soludo, in a memo issued through the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Anambra State Signage and Advertisment Agency, Mr Odili Ujubuon͂u, said that the levies must be paid by anybody or family that wants to publicise an obituary, wedding or other events in the State.
In the letter entitled “Regulation of ceremonial adverts,” addressed to the National President of the Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU), Soludo warned that the new directives must be adhered to.
The document reads: “The tariff below serves as a guide to what is payable; sizes, description, amount and duration of the taxes are: 4 X 6FT N5,000 for 2 weeks; 8 X 10FT N20,000 for 2 weeks; above 10FT square are N100,000 monthly; and N5000 for posters for 2 weeks.
“Note that directional signs leading to the venue which can come in 1x 2ft size will not be charged. It is also important to bear in mind that after the duration of this period, any such board that is left standing will attract a penalty in the sum of the amount initially paid. This penalty is paid weekly.
“The Agency, in fulfillment of its statutory obligation, is not unmindful of the menace associated with non-commercial adverts that have literally occupied our out-of-home space.”
On the new rates on waste disposal, ASWAMA said the new rate was classified according to local governments, which could be rural, semi-urban and urban. He said the LGAs in the urban category include Awka South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Aguata, Nnewi North, Idemili North and Ogbaru; while he listed semi-urban local governments as Njikoka, Idemili South, Ihiala, Awka North, Oyi, Orumba North, Orumba South, Anaocha, Nnewi South, Dunukofia, and Anambra East. The rural local government areas include Ayamelum, Anambra West and Ekwusigo.
For people in residential buildings in the rural areas, the annual waste disposal and management rate for a duplex was fixed for N12,000; in semi-urban N18,000 and N24,000 for urban areas. The agency said N6,000 was fixed for detached bungalows in the rural areas, N9000 for semi-urban and N12,000 for the urban areas annually.
“Flat (2-3 bedrooms) will pay N3,600 for rural, N5,400 for semi-urban and N7,200 for urban, annually. One-bedroom flat in rural area is N2,400, semi-urban N3,600 and N4,800 for urban, yearly. One-room in rural areas will pay N1,200, N1,800 for semi-urban and N2,400 for urban yearly,” ASWAMA Managing Director said.
Speaking on the commercial categories, the ASWAMA boss stated that for banks, if it is Central Bank in rural LGAs, the rate is N600,000, semi-urban is N900,000 while urban is N1, 200,000 yearly. “For commercial banks, N240,000 for rural; N360,000 for semi-urban; N480,000 for the urban, annually. Micro-finance banks will pay N60, 000 for rural; N90, 000 for semi-urban, N120, 000 for the urban, while bureau de change will pay annual fee of N60, 000 for rural, N90, 000 for semi-urban, N120, 000 for urban. Insurance companies and others will pay N60, 000 for rural, N90, 000 for semi-urban, N120, 000 for urban. Going forward, hotels with 200 rooms and above will pay N480,000 for rural, N720, 000 for semi-urban, N960, 000 for urban, every year.”
According to him, hotels with100-199 rooms will pay N300,000 for rural, N450, 000 for semi-urban and N600, 000 for urban, yearly. “Those with 50-99 rooms will pay N240, 000 for rural, N360, 000 for semi-urban and N480, 000 for urban, yearly. Hotels with 40-49 rooms will pay N180, 000 for rural, N270, 000 for semi-urban and N360, 000 for urban, yearly; while hotels with 30-39 rooms will pay N160, 000 for rural, N240, 000 for semi-urban and N320, 000 for urban LGAs, yearly.
“Others with 20-29 rooms will pay N144,000 for rural, N216 for semi-urban and N288 for urban. Those with 10-19 rooms will pay N120, 000 for rural, N180, 000 for semi-urban and N240,000 for urban, yearly. Hotels with 1-9 rooms will pay N60, 000 for rural, N90, 000 for semi-urban and N120,000 for urban while Video rental stores will pay N3, 600 for rural, N5, 400 for semi-urban and N7, 200 for urban, yearly. Recreation, sport, park and leisure (big) in the rural areas will pay N24,000, semi-urban N36,000 and the N48, 000 for urban, every year. Recreation, sport, park and leisure (small) will pay N12,000 for rural and N18, 000 for semi-urban and N24, 000 for urban, yearly.”
According to Ozoemena, new rate for gaming house/pool agency is N4, 800 for rural, N7, 200 for semi-urban, and N9, 600 for urban, yearly. “Restaurant/drinking parlours (large) in the rural LGAs will pay N60, 000, N90, 000 for semi-urban and N120, 000 for urban, while Restaurant/drinking parlours (small) pay N24, 000 for rural, N 36, 000 for semi-urban and N48, 000 for the urban, yearly. Fast food outfits will pay N180, 000 for rural, N270, 000 for semi-urban and N360,000 for urban; while night clubs pay N60, 000 in the rural LGAs, N90, 000 for semi-urban and N120, 000 for urban. Others in the category in the rural LGAs will pay N24, 000, semi-urban N36,000 and N48, 000 for the urban LGAs, yearly,” he announced.
Meanwhile, some residents described the new taxes and rates as counterproductive, saying the government was merely putting the cart before the horse.
A resident of the state, Ebuka Onyekwelu, accused the agency of being more interested in the financial gains than rising to the responsibility of taking waste off the streets. He insisted that collection and management of wastes should be of primary importance to revenue collection