The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke has assured that the legislature will not relent in giving the state government the necessary support needed to stimulate small and medium enterprise development in the state.
Receiving in audience the state exco of Akwa Ibom Traders Co-operative Association at the Assembly Complex on yesterday, Barr Luke who described the decision by the traders to form a Co-operative society as laudable, informed that already the bill seeking to establish Akwa Ibom State Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency forwarded to the House by the executive has been passed into law, and is awaiting the Governor’s accent.
He told them that the 6th assembly pays high premium to small and medium enterprise, because according to the Speaker, they hold the key to the growth of the economy.
“We in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly are particular about Small and medium enterprise because that is the key to the growth of the economy. With the formation of a co-operative society by the traders, it is easy to access facilities from government and banks”.
Speaker Luke hailed Governor Udom Emmanuel for the N2 Billion grant given to traders in the state to support and grow their businesses, saying such gesture deserves commendation. He equally hailed the Special Assistant to the Governor on Trade and Market Matters, Mr. Idorenyin Raphael for his passion, and commitment for the betterment the welfare of Akwa Ibom traders. He was particularly impressed that Raphael has been able to use his office to attract government facilities and other support to Akwa Ibom traders.
On the complaint of multiple taxation on traders raised by the President of the traders co-operative society, Barr Luke advised him to forward a memo on the matter to the House of Assembly, but however cautioned that while the legislature was not in support of over burdening traders with taxation, the House would not encourage a situation where the traders evade tax payment. He explained that one of the main sources of government revenue where it is able to fund social services is derived from tax payment.
“We need to balance the need not to over burden you with taxation. I want to urge the traders to raise a formal memo to the House of Assembly
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, and President, Akwa Ibom Traders Co-operative Association, Akparawa Idorenyin Raphael, said the traders were in the Assembly Complex to express solidarity to the government of the day, and congratulated Barr. Luke on his successful re-election to the House of Assembly and his subsequent elevation to the position of Speaker.
Mr. Raphael who double as the Special Assistant to the Governor on Traders Matters, used the opportunity to brief the Speaker on the various packages he has been able to attract to traders in the state. He requested for the government to increase budgetary allocation to the trade sector from the current 0.8% level to an appreciable level. The traders also called for harmonisation of taxes imposed on traders, saying the current multiple taxation was stifling their businesses.
Lawmakers present during the courtesy call include, the Deputy House Leader, Barr. Ime Okon, representative of Oron/Udunguko state constituency in Mr. Effiong Bassey, member representing Esit-Eket/Ibeno, Mr. Usoro Akpanusoh and Ukanafun representative, Mr. Otobong Jonathan.
Among Members of the Traders co-operative Association in attendance at the visit were, the Vice president (1) Umoh Cyril, Vice president (11) Obong Paul Archibong, Vice president (111),Prince Obot Emmanuel, Secretary, Effiong Ekpenyong, and Treasurer, Mrs. Ekaette Essien among others.