Watt Market traders under the aegies of Capital Traders Umbrella Association (CATU), yesterday endorsed the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade for a second term in office.
The traders, who were led on a courtesy call on the governor by president of the association, Elder Ededet Andem, anchored their support for the governor on what they described as his sterling performance in office so far.
Specifically, the traders commended the governor for creating a business-friendly environment in the state, thus impacting positively on their various business.
They also acknowledged other developmental strides recorded by the governor in the various sectors of the economy including agriculture, education, employment, industry and infrastructure.
To further demonstrate their support for the governor, the traders requested to be made a part of the governor’s re-election campaign team whenever it is constituted.
“Your Excellency, we know you as a labour friendly governor, the digital governor that pays salary when due and up to date. We register our appreciation for exempting the low income traders from informal tax.
“Your Excellency, we wish to be part of your campaign team for the 2019 election. We are over 7,000 traders in Watt Market” the association said.
The association used the opportunity to plead with the governor to donate a coster bus to the association, ensure the enforcement of tax exemption to low income traders and assist some of its members whose goods were gutted by the November 2017 fire incident at the market.
Responding, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade who expressed gratitude to the group for their show of solidarity and support to his administration, frowned vehemently at the multiple taxation they reported and vowed to ensure the enforcement of his low income earning, no tax payment policy as well as implement a flexible tax regime in the state.
“I made a tax exemption law for low income earners including market women and civil servants whose salaries are less than fifty thousand naira monthly and I have equally set up anti-tax agency to save all these petty traders from the hoodlums who still collect tax even after these taxes were abolished,” Ayade stressed.
In a bid to give them a sense of belonging, the Governor also promised to appoint one of them as a Special Assistant in his cabinet while also succumbing to their request for a coaster buses to tackle their mobility challenge.
In what seemed to be his account of stewardship, Ayade enumerated some of his laudable achievements which include the Calabar Garment Factory, Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory, Cocoa Processing Plant as well as the Ogoja Rice Processing Mill among others and urged them to key into the projects to create more wealth for themselves.
On the issue of prompt payment of salaries as acknowledged by the traders which according them has direct impact on the market, Ayade stated: “Whether Cross River has money or not, payment of salaries to its workers is a law and must ensure the fulfilment of this obligation every month.”
He said as a civil state, the economy of the state is dependent on the salaries to grow at all times.