Ondo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Governor Olusegun Mimiko of placing residents of the State under a yoke of heavy taxation.
In a statement on Sunday obtained by SaharaReporters, the Party's State Chairman Isaac Kekemeke made the accusation while condemning the continuous exploitation of the poor masses of the State in the guise of taxes and indiscriminate charges.
The electronic statement issued on his behalf by the party's Director of Media, Steve Otaloro, noted that Governor Mimiko should also be ready to account for a N14.7 billion bailout fund given by President Muhammadu Buhari to assist Ondo State in the payment of the workers’ salary.
Mr. Kekemeke explained that over one trillion naira has been collected in revenue from the federation account by Governor Mimiko’s administration in the past six years.
He noted that if the government collects taxes from the citizens, it has the constitutional duty to create wealth and employment, but this is not the case in Ondo State.
"If the State government sees you do something worthwhile that could lead to employment eneration for others, they promptly kill such initiatives with a barrage of questionable taxes and levies thereby misusing the legitimate role of tax in development," Mr. Kekemeke explained.
The APC Chair added that the actions of the present administration of Governor Mimiko were tantamount to the taxation of poverty and not the right way to generate revenue for the State.
Mr. Kekemeke also cited the example of the newly introduced car emission charges and stated emphatically that there is no justification for such additional burdens upon the people.
He noted that the result of heavy taxation on several residents in the State caused unnecessary distractions from government policies thereby causing much grief and pain.
“Today, lawyers are battling the Chief Justice over outrageous fees. Several unions are fighting against the government. Civil servants have protested ‘heavy yoke of taxes’. Motorbike riders who criminally and willfully destroyed public properties sometime ago blamed it upon heavy charges attached to the registration scheme.
Had the State government embarked upon pro-people strategies for raising revenues, this atmosphere of pain and grief that pervades the State would not exist. Responsible governance places a duty upon all of us to consider the people first", he said.
Mr. Kekemeke also lamented the current level of secrecy shrouding Governor Mimiko’s present administration given the efforts he and the governor made to improve the transparency of the Ondo State government.
"He is now very comfortable with the fact that no-one in the State has a clue as per the finances of the State. We as party had to depend on the Federal Ministry of Finance for guidance,” he concluded