The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has introduced a compulsory education levy in the state.
The governor, who made this known at a media chat on Friday, said the tax cuts across civil servants, businesses, contractors, parents, among others.
Dickson, who said the levy was part of measures to protect the future of education in the state, insisted that anybody opposed to the tax would be considered an enemy of the state.
The governor said to drive the process, his administration set up an Education Development Trust Fund, adding that the fund would guarantee the sustainability of the policies and programmes that the government had put in the education sector.
Dickson said, “From now on, funds will be pumped into the EDTF account to support free feeding, free uniforms and other items for the pupils. And it will take little contributions from every Bayelsan; some will pay as little as N400, N500 per month. There are others that will have to pay N1, 000 or more depending on their businesses.
‘’For those in the public service, they will also contribute. It is better for us to put together resources to fund mass education. Yes, in this state, we have some educated people but the judgment I have made over time is that we have yet to get that critical mass of highly skilled and qualified professionals and unless we have them, the state will be in trouble.’’
According to him, those in government will pay the highest.
“The governor of the state will pay more. My own contribution every month is N100,000, the deputy governor’s contribution is N50, 000, the speaker of the house will contribute N30,000, the chief judge will pay N25,000, the commissioners, assembly members, senior special advisers, special advisers and senior special assistants will also pay.
“All those doing business in the state will have to pay a particular percentage as education levy. Everybody given government contract from now on has to pay tax,’’ the governor added.
He also announced the introduction of the Tertiary Education Loan Board, saying the board would give loans to indigent students in tertiary institutions, particularly those in the Niger Delta University