Economic activity in Makurdi suffered a great down turn as traders in Makurdi Modern Market Shut down their stalls crumbling all financial activity.
According to findings, the cause of the stalemate arose from a disagreement between the traders and the Ministries of Commerce and Industry as well as Finance for the hike in taxes and rent.
A trader, Mr. Stanislus Ibe who spoke to atiterkula confirmed that the traders had been asked to pay up extra rents to cover for a period of seven months even as most of them still had their rents running and we’re not due for any renewal.
He said the tax collectors also increased their tax rates even as he complained that there was little or no maintenance in the market with the high rent rates they were paying, affirming the reason for the shut down.
Mr. Ibe who trades in second hand shoes further bemoaned the arbitrary increase in shop rents, as according to him the present commissioner has the highest price hike history. He narrated that on assumption of office the present commissioner for Commerce, Mr. Terfa Ihindan had increased the price of stall to 50, 000.00 Naira as against the 25, 000.00 Naira they were paying under the Alex Adum regime.
Ibe who was visibly angry said the traders had to delegate people to the commissioner who brought the rent down to 35, 000.00 after much negotiations. He however lamented that even with the hike In rents there was little or no maintenance done in the market premises as “even the stores that were gutted by fire are yet to be repaired”.
Our investigation further reveals that part of the traders’ refusal to comply to the directive to pay their rent in advance was the change or account numbers from the government owned account in First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to a private account they suspect to belong to the commissioner or a crony.
They wonder what will their fate if the incoming government denies knowledge of the money paid.
Meanwhile all efforts to reach the commissioner on his phone failed as it was switched off.