Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has assured the people of the state of a quick economic recovery in 2017.
Obaseki also announced the prohibition of activities of private tax collectors contracted during the administration of ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole to collect levies for the State Government.
The governor, in his address to the people, expressed gratitude and appreciation to them for overwhelmingly entrusting him with the responsibility to take charge and to steer the socio-economic and political destiny of the State.
“I am aware of the enormity of the trust and confidence you have reposed in me and by the grace of God Almighty I will meet your expectations”, he assured.
Obaseki, who reviewed the socio-economic activities of 2016 and concluded that it was indeed harsh, however, exuded confidence that 2017 would be better for the people of the state.
“As we reflect on 2016, we have every reason to be thankful to God Almighty for preserving us and our country; 2016 was a year of challenges, difficulties, excitements and opportunities.
“Undoubtedly, the economic recession unleashed unprecedented difficulties on individuals, families and communities as no aspect of our economic and social life was spared the severe economic hardship.
“Because of the drop in the price of crude oil and the vandalism of pipelines; we saw the value of our currency decline significantly.
“We also saw industries and businesses shut down while people lost their jobs, the level of unemployment has continued to rise; all these have thus led to increase in crime and poverty in the land.
“In spite of the difficulties and gloom, 2016 nonetheless experienced some bright moments for us in Edo state for which we are grateful to the Almighty,’’ Obaseki said.
“I must quickly mention that one issue that continues to agitate Edo people is the lawless activities of some individuals who persist in harassing and extorting innocent citizens under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.
“The laws of our country vest the responsibility for collecting taxes exclusively on the three tiers of government – federal, state and local governments.
“Consequently, with immediate effect, only employees of government can collect taxes and levies in the state.
“All arrangements to collect taxes or levies entered into by any state or local government agency in Edo State, cease to be valid”, he stated.
He urged the citizens not to cave in to any form of intimidation, but to rather “call or alert law enforcement agencies if they find anyone involved in such nefarious activities.”