By Ode, Mercy kosisochukwu/Oko Odinakachi Oyiri

Traders at Lot 1, Margret Umahi International Market and those selling items in an open space within the market premises have lamented high taxation allegedly taxed them by government tax force.

They bared their minds to The Voice Newspaper reporters who went to interact with them to ascertain the challenges they are facing at the market.

They expressed disappointment that the six months giving to them has not elapsed and they are already paying much on tax.

They said they pay N1000 for Security, N100 everyday which they don’t know what it’s used for, N1, 700 for environmental among other things.

It was gathered that those in other Lot are pay N300 for security, those in lot 1 called on the state government to come to their rescue and harmonize the taxes.

Also, majority of the traders at the International Market blamed the low sales they encountered within the last two months on their relocation from Abakapa Main Market.

Recall that following the relocation, the outbreak of COVID- 19 amidst other challenges came in place.

At the international market, some shops were still under construction while so many shops are yet to be occupied.

In their reactions, some of our respondents expressed disappointment and challenges over the relocation, stating that the relocation has led to more hardship thereby discouraging entrepreneurship; others said it has led to their business expansion, but they are hoping that the state government will be considerate when it comes to the amount to be paid as tax.

Below were their responses:

Mr. Nwali Necodemus (Dealer on Provisions)
I am suffering here, in fact all of us here at Lot 1 are going through difficulties. Can you believe that I was asked to evacuate my shop before Friday that someone has already bought it.

That is what we see here on daily basis. No sales, heavy tax, emergency evacuation notice, all leading to frustration. The COVID-19 issue is not the major challenge we are facing here, but what we are going through here is coming from the state government.

Jenifer Eze (Dealer on Food Condiments)
There is patronage here compared to Abakpa market. The environment is large and beautiful but it’s harsh. Tax is on daily basis whether you like it or not even if you did not sell anything, it is very bad here.

Mrs. Juliet Nwazunku (Dealer on Okrika Clothes)
Truth is that there is no patronage here. I prefer when the market was at Abakpa because the level of sales I made then are in no way comparable with the suffering am going through now. Though nobody collects any tax from me, I stay by the road side, under the sun all day with heavy dust and sometimes make no sales. Sometimes when it is raining there will not be a place to pack my goods. It was not like that at Abakpa market. We, as ‘OK’ clothes sellers paid for a place inside the market but after a short while, the state government demolished it and our money wasted as we were only balanced #5,000 out of the huge amount of money we spent. So we need urgent attention from the state government because we are really suffering here.

Mrs Marbel Eze (Dealer on Petty Food Items)
I go home most days without even money for food. I stay under the sun and hustle to see if I get anything to feed my children with. I was inside the market but was surrounded by pits.

This has affected my sales so I decided move to the road side here. Am just hoping on God to touch the heart of our Governor to remember how much we are suffering here. Nobody has disturbed me about paying tax.

Mrs Elom (Dealer On Fowls)
I think I am blessed in this market because I make much more sales here than at Abakpa Market. I have seen many people complain about not selling their goods here but it’s like that for me. I just pray that the state government will not tax us high but nobody has disturbed me for tax yet.

Egbe Patricia (Dealer On Hair Accessories)
There is no patronage here at Lot 1. Everything is too expensive here compare to Lot 2 and 3. We pay security fees like #1000 while others pay #300. We are like abandoned people. The worst is that somebody can receive urgent notice to park out from the rented shop that someone has bought it. This is seriously leading people to frustration and heart break. Market at Lot 1 here is very bad, the tax also too high.

Mr Nweke Eyeke (Dealer On Provision)
There is a poor allocation in this international market especially at Lot1 here. People spend money to get a shop ready for use only to receive a reallocation order unexpectedly. Yes, the environment is better for business but the activities are worse. We are depressed financially, tasked heavily and rent a shop at much higher rate as #25/27,000 against the #5,000 at Abakpa market. Now environmental tax force gives us #1,700 monthly whether you have it or not. We are not happy.

Kenneth Unique (Dealer on Phone)
Though I came late after the whole relocation and still trying to adjust since the market is still improving and developing, but there is no much challenge. As regards COVID-19, the market men are trying to effect the precautionary measures as instructed by the state government.

Mr Paul Onwunyere (Dealer on Provision)
The agreement is not kept as to giving shop to those who had shops at Abakpa market. I was a landlord there but now, I stay outside under the sun selling little or nothing. The Governor has not fulfilled his promise and what we hear in the radio is different from what is happening here. They impose heavy tax on us inconsiderably.

Agwu Abuchi Christiana (Dealer on Provision)
Here is better for me because I was staying at the street before but now I stay in a more conducive environment unlike Abakpa/meat market which was very congested. I have not paid any tax, they said it is after six months.

Mr. Ifeanyi Ojiogu (Dealer on Provisions)
Market is dull because of COVID- 19. There is no transportation, goods are costly and getting them is difficult. The relocation of the market favoured some and affected others negatively.

They impose tax on us daily and we have no representative since our chairman is also a party to what is happening to us. They said the tax is from the state government while the government said it is after six months that we will start paying tax, so we don’t understand what is happening and who to believe.

Mr. Anthony Chibuike (Dealer on Ladies Wears)
Here is a new market coupled with COVID -19 issues so there is no patronage. Concerning tax, the governor promised that after six months tax payment will begin but that promise is not what we see here as we are taxed daily. Abarkpa/Meat Market is better than this place. The governor should help us.

Theresa Onu (Dealer on Stuck Fish)
We stay outside under the sun, yet pay a lot of taxes on daily basis without selling anything. We paid tax at Abakpa market but made good sales. The governor should help the poor by giving us shop to pay in installments. The environment is beautiful but the situation is bad.

Mr. Eberechukwu Emmanuel (Dealer on Interior Decoration Materials)

I prefer this international market to Abakpa market. We have space here, easy access to our goods when they arrive than the congested Abakpa market then. Though the shop rent here is high, it is affordable. Yes, there is tax and the highest among them is security levy.

I’m happy because I was staying at Abacha round about before but now I have a shop.

Mr. Ben (Dealer on Batteries)
The environment now is better but sales are worse. I believe it will get better because COVID 19 has made people not to move around and money is not circulating. In fact, everything seems not in order for now until after the issue of COVID- 19.

Samuel Egwuom (Dealer on Phones)
Moving to this place is good but difficult on people because there is no money. Costumers now find it difficult to locate us. Some business people have packed to the streets while others have dropped. There is serious hardship now. Yes, the COVID- 19 issue is affecting us also because of the restriction of movement and high cost of goods.

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