No fewer than 2, 000 tipper drivers across the 18 local government areas of Cross River, on Tuesday embarked on indefinite strike over what they termed `multiple levies’ introduced by the state government.
The drivers complain that they pay not less than N5, 700 for every trip of sand they deliver to customers.
Mr Daniel Obong, Vice Chairman, Calabar Municipal Tippers Drivers’ Association, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said that the multiple levies were having adverse effect on their operations.
He said that aside from the levies, they were also compelled to pay N54, 000 per annum as registration levy to the Cross River Transport Regulatory Agency.
He added that they were also mandated to pay N18, 000 to the Ministry of Works, among other multiple permits.
Obong said the strike would linger for a long time as their pleas to the state Ministry of Transportation and its subsidiaries had not yielded result.
He said that their pleas to the government to streamline the levies to a reasonable level had failed, adding that the association might resort to seeking legal action if all efforts failed.
“We are tired of paying so many levies daily. Over 2,000 of us are embarking on strike because we cannot continue this way again.
“We have engaged the government in various discussions and we cannot continue to pay again because after each payment we hardly have anything to take home, let alone repair our tippers.
“A trip of sand is N23, 000 and we pay not less that N5, 700 as levy. This levy is entirely different from others that we pay annually.
“The government should come to our aid; the tax is heavy on us. If they refuse to listen to us, we will approach the court’’, he said.
He said that maintaining their tippers was a challenge to them due to the bad state of roads in the state.
When contacted, the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Saviour Nyong, said that a task force had been set up to harmonise the various levies.
“The ministry of Transport is trying to harmonise the levies. We have constituted a task force headed by me to harmonise the levies.
“We have held two meetings and we will soon round up with the discussions and come up with a position,” he said.
Nyong said that the Ministry would seek for downward review of the levies.