Henrietta Ashikodi Umuahia:
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has frowned at the heavy taxing of bill boards and sign post by Abia state government.
The chairman of PFN, bishop Chikezie Elekwa made this known to journalists in Umuahia, he said starting from 2016 churches started receiving notices from Abia State Signage Advertisement Agency that both sign post on the walls of churches and bill boards bearing names of churches would be taxed.
He disclosed that from earlier 2016, they were made to pay as much as N35,000 for a sizable bill board but surprisingly the rate has increased by times two by 2017 making the affected churches to cry out over the injustice.
Reacting the general manager, Abia state Signage Advertisement Agency (ABSAA) Chief Gan Alozie said the state law no 9 of 2012 which established the Agency became operational in January 2016 and the law made it clear that every out door signage must pay levy for it.
He maintained that churches are not exempted from the law, he denied that churches are taxed arbitrary, he said that what happened is that most often there are churches cluster among themselves and high level of compete.
“We have seen churches who cluster together struggling for space for their bill boards and while competing some go as far as mounting big sign post to undo the other and when they are taxed based on the size they begin to complain”.
He disclosed that they have met with church leaders and resolved so many issue among which is the right size of bill boards and sign post to be placed at walls of churches.
He pointed that the law also mandated the agency to pull down bill boards blocking the right of way, to stop indiscriminate sighting of sign post and a fine on those who defaced the city. He however decried the attitude of People towards payment of tax.