Anambra School Owners Protest Against Excessive Taxation and Discrimination

The Owners of Private Schools Association of Nigeria (OPSAN) has appealed to the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to reconsider the “excessive” taxes and fees imposed by various government agencies on private school owners in the state.

The association raised concerns that the state government perceives private school proprietors as profit-oriented enterprises, subjecting them to high taxes and levies while exempting public schools from such financial burdens.

During the inauguration of the new state executive led by Sir Earnest Iwuamadi in Onitsha, OPSAN’s National President, Prof. Uzochukwu Nwanonyuo, urged Governor Soludo to take immediate action to alleviate the private schools’ difficulties stemming from multiple taxes, unauthorized fees, and other unjustifiable payments.

Nwanonyuo stated, “We are hopeful that the issue of multiple taxes will be addressed over time, as it has been our primary challenge. Another concern is the encroachment and harassment by the ‘Anambra State Joint Enforcement Unit.’ The state government needs to educate this regulatory unit about the unique nature of schools, which require decorum. Otherwise, their activities could harm the quality of education in the state.”

He emphasized that private school proprietors are not driven by profit motives but rather by a commitment to providing essential social services, aiding the government in addressing educational deficiencies.

Sir Earnest Iwuamadi, the newly inaugurated president of the Anambra chapter of OPSAN, decried the discrimination against private schools in various aspects. Iwuamadi criticized the government for exempting public schools and government-mission schools from multiple levies and taxes. He also pointed out that government support and appointments often favor public schools, even though every government-approved school is co-owned by the government.

Iwuamadi suggested, “For example, government officials demand levies for school premises, billboards, school vans, and even harass students during transit. We urge the governor to eliminate multiple taxes and instead consolidate all school levies into a single, unified tax payment for schools.”

He promised to expedite the approval process for OPSAN member schools yet to secure government authorization.

Dr. Mary Obiokoye, a member of OPSAN’s Board of Trustees, pleaded with the Anambra State government to consider appointing proprietors from the private school sector to political positions. She said, “I want the government to include at least two or three OPSAN members in this administration. Involve us in school boards, commissions, or directorships. We have individuals with valuable expertise to contribute to governance.”

Efforts to obtain a response from the state government, specifically from the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, were unsuccessful as calls and inquiries made to her remained unanswered at the time of this report.

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