IN its commitment to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the Delta State Government on Wednesday, reeled out tax relief incentives to some categories of persons in the informal sector of the state economy.
Those expected to benefit from the state government’s gesture included private school owners, hoteliers, private hospital owners, potable water providers, publishers in the media industry, transport companies and owners of eateries among others.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu and the Chairman, Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Sir Monday Onyeme who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Government House, Asaba, said the tax relief incentives was to enable beneficiaries remain in business in this era of corona virus pandemic.
Mr. Aniagwu pointed out that the state government had taken proactive steps in the past to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 that had led to the drop in the price of crude oil in the international market.
The Information Commissioner listed some of the steps taken by the state government to include downward review of the state 2020 budget, provision of food items in form of palliatives for the less privileged in the state as well as the establishment of isolation and treatment centres for COVID-19 patients with a view to flattening the curve of the pandemic.
He disclosed that the World Bank offered the state government the sum of $4.5 million as grant for budget discipline, due process, transparency and accountability in its financial transactions.
Speaking on the development, Sir Onyeme explained that the tax waiver could, also, be enjoyed by any other entrepreneur in the informal sector through application, reiterating that the essence of the tax relief incentives was to keep businesses afloat to prevent loss of jobs.
On his part, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe said that the tax waiver would not in anyway affect the implementation of the 2020 budget of the state government that was reviewed downward from N395 billion to N282 billion, stressing that the incentive was part of government’s magnanimity towards making the informal sector to be economically vibrant and viable.
Dr. Gbe stated that 17 per cent of the budget was to revamp the economy of the state while other percentages would cater for other sectors including road infrastructure.
Also, speaking during the briefing, the Commissioner for Finance, Sir Fidelis Tilije said that the state government has put machinery in place to stop double taxation, adding that it (the state government) created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive despite the threat occasioned by the corona virus pandemic.
Sir Tilije pointed out that every step taken by the state government since the outbreak of COVID-19 was to ensure that the financial base of the state was not completely closed but meant to keep government business running.