Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and members of the Tipper Owners and Quarry Employers in the state yesterday settled their differences over the new tax imposed on their operations by the State Government.
Gov. Fayose had imposed a tax of N1, 000 per trip of sand and gravel and a fine of N50,000 for default on the tipper owners, in a bid to shore up the state’s internally generated revenue but this was strongly opposed by the Tipper Owners and Quarry Employers.
However, following a peace parley on the instance of elder statesman and Founder of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), Fayose reduced the tax to N500 per trip to take effect from January.
The meeting held at Jibowu Hall of the Government House, was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Etop James and Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Ekiti, Duke Fubara.
With the development, the price of a load of sand has been increased from N12, 000 to N14, 500 while a load of gravel will now sell for N28, 000 up from N25, 000.
According to the governor, the new tax regime was informed by dwindling federal allocation, adding “Ekiti is in dire need of money”.
He also insisted that all tipper owners in the state must register their trucks and get new number plates.
Fayose said: “For the fact that I love you and that power belongs to the masses and with the intervention of our revered leader, Chief Babalola and security chiefs, I will accept this proposal. But my position has been that you must pay N1, 000 per trip.
“I want us to come to reality that Ekiti is in dire need of money. N934 million is being deducted from our allocation monthly. But no tipper will operate in Ekiti without proper registration. You need to be aware that any illegal operator will be dealt with”.
Earlier, the DSS Director in the state said: “The two parties would have to be aware of the security implications of this stand-off.
“You just have to shift grounds for us to find a middle ground to this matter”.
The convener of the peace meeting, Chief Babalola, who praised the magnanimity of Gov. Fayose, told the tipper owners to continue to support the government by paying their tax.