Members of Edo State Chapter of Association of Hotels Proprietors, at the weekend, lamented what they described as a sharp drop in patronage since the imposition of double tax policy by the Government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Speaking with newsmen in Benin City, the state capital, the State Chairman of the association, Roland Nosakhare Osunde, disclosed that hoteliers were earlier dealt a blow by the federal government’s Value Added Tax (VAT), and without consultation, the state government forged ahead to impose other17 different levies on them.
Citing reasons why attempt by the Lagos State government to introduce the same tax law failed, he said the state chapter of the association was currently in court over the issue adding that the federal high court has consequently adjourned judgment for October 17th.
He berated the state government on the alleged double taxation adding what the government would have done was to come up with development fund policy at least, twice in two years where every hoteliers would have gladly contributed.
Osunde said, “I want to state that besides the state tax, we have over16 different levies we are paying. So all these are going to the government coffers. But when you say development levy, the hoteliers will be happy to raise such fund for the state for a specific capital project but don’t make it a matter of statutory tax law’’
“Tourism in the state will be adversely affected if we allow this law to succeed. Five per cent is a lot of money and some of these hoteliers did not make this money here, they only came to invest in their own state of origin’’
He equally frowned at the activities of the state government’s agencies, who, despite the pronouncement of the court ordering that the status-quo be maintained, still went ahead to seal off hotel premises, warning that they are prepared to also take the law into their hands.