By Ibrahim Sheriff (Gold)
Members of the National Association of Private Schools in Kwara State have lamented what they described as ‘double, inhuman taxation and harassment’, which they alleged to have suffered in the hands of Kwara State Internal Revenue Services, KWIRS officials and it’s agents .
Interacting with Fresh Insight’s Correspondent, members of the Association said “Some new, obnoxious taxes were slammed on the school owners, which must be paid before the innocent students could be cleared for WAEC /NECO and Common Entrances Examinations.
They described the new taxes as ‘illegal’, saying “it is most insensitive on the part of the Government as most of these illegal taxes would hit back at the populace, making lives difficult for innocent Kwarans.”
One of the school owners Mr Lukman Ibraheem, said “The conditions this government is placing on the school owners before the innocent kids under their cares could be allowed to write the exam is harsher than what was experienced during the last administration in Kwara State. We appeal to NAPPS Leadership to address the issue by meeting the appropriate arms of government to address the issue as they cannot continue in that manner.”
Another private School owner Mrs Rebecca Daniel, queried “How on earth could any sensitive government ask school to pay for 4 years signpost erection before a school could be cleared for WAEC or NECO? Why should signpost be generalized? What gives impressions that I have a signpost erected in the last two years? Why generalization of signposts as a condition for WAEC/NECO Clearance, when some schools do not have signposts? It shows they have no record but interested in exploitation of the innocent schools.”
According to a list made available to Fresh Insight, the new taxes imposed on private schools in the State includes Fumigation Certificate fees, Health Inspection fees from KWEPA, Fire service fees and Road Set Back fees. Others are Ministry of Enterprise fees and Creche fees.
Mr Rasaq Abdulahi who is also a private school owner in his reaction, said “The new taxes were not discussed with the leadership of NAPPS prior to the implementation. These charges have been resolved by the leadership of our Association during the last regime. They are classified as ‘Service based charges’, where I enjoy the service I pay for. We however wonder why the KWIRS is generalizing these charges on innocent school owners.
Abdullahi added that” This is exploitation we must all resist. Why must we pay to Ministry of Enterprise fees even when our allegiance is to the Ministry of Education? Why do we have to pay Creche fee to Enterprise, even when we have already paid to the Ministry of Education for nursery and primary school. This is regarded as double taxation and the leadership of NAPPS should not allow this to stand”, he charged.
He charged the Government to look beyond private schools to meet up it’s IGR as they are just coming out of recession imposed by the covid -19 lockdown and not to retrieve the palliative loan to the Private schools through double and illegal taxes, after all the same loan palliative given to school would be paid back .
He appealed tp the State Government to limit it’s conditions for the WAEC/NECO Clearance to the 5 legitimate taxes known to School owners such as Renewal fees, PIT, Development levy, Water Rate and of recent Land Charges.
All efforts to speak with the leadership of NAPPS Dr. Rahaman Adetunji and Dr Temitope Ajibola proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.
Speaking with Fresh Insight on condition of anonymity, a high ranking KWIRS topshot while denying the allegation, affirmed that the agency didn’t introduce new taxes as being alleged.
He said “We’ve not introduced new taxes, the contentious issue is a ministry levy, in this case Ministry of Education, KWIRS only collects the levy on behalf of the ministry.
“The taxes and levies have always been part of our laws for years, the fact that it hasn’t been collected in the past doesn’t mean it is new, with the dwindling revenue accrueable to the State from the federation account, all States are now looking inward.
“KWIRS has no such powers to fix the ministerial levies, we rely solely on the relevant ministry’s directive, so If the affected payers have issues with the rate, they should approach the ministry for dialogue ” he stressed.