Lakes State lawmakers clears minister to levy poll taxes

Lakes State Legislative Assembly cleared the minister of local government and law enforcement agencies, Chol Manhom, to continue levying social service tax after he appeared before the House to explain the relevance of the tax policy and insecurity concerns.

According to Manhom, he told the legislators that the tax is in compliance with the Local Government Act of 2009 and other relevant laws and is levied for the benefit of the people.

“The August House found that it is a very relevant public policy that they will continue to support and that they will focus on how this activity is going on in terms of accountability,” he said.

“We have finally agreed that the policy will continue, and whatever is being charged as a social service tax has to be included in the state budget.”

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He said the Parliament gave the policy a clean bill of health to help the state pool up resources for easier service delivery.

Manhom argued the collection of taxes had not been stopped, but the inactivity is attributable to the recent wave of insecurity in the state.

“Any government must always survive on the taxes of its citizens, provided that they are given to them in terms of services,” he added.

“We are implementing the policy and the parliament will continue to supervise and see into it whether we are doing it according to the law for the benefit of the people.”

Lakes State chairperson of the information committee, Zechariah Matuong, said the state assembly made a raft of resolutions after listening to the presentation of the minister.

They resolved that the collected poll taxes should appear in the budget for the 2023–2024 financial year.

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They further proposed that all government bills should be presented as a policy of the government this year to the assembly as well as the policies.

The other recommendation was that the taxation act should be amended by the minister of local government and law enforcement agencies for enactment by this assembly next year.

“In fact, it was said by the minister that he has created a different account that has not been reflected in the budget representation. So, the August House has requested that the amount be added to the local revenue to appear in the budget,” he said.

He added, “The taxation should be presented in August House for amendment because it will be done at the level of the community.”

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 Last week, the state assembly directed the minister to appear before it explains the importance of the taxes and runaway insecurity. Lakes State has enjoyed the stability since the area governor, Rin Tueny Mabor embarked on disarmament. But in the past few weeks, the state has witnessed isolated cases of insecurity among them involving attacks on the soldiers.

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