The Catholic diocese of Ekiti has asked the state government to exempt its schools from payment of education development levy.
The bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, in a press statement issued in Ado Ekiti dated April 20, threatened to institute a legal action against the government “in the circumstance that any of the schools under my custody is disturbed,” for the payment of education levy.
The cleric said under the Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Law, 2005, the state government had the mandatory obligation to provide free and compulsory education for every child of primary or junior secondary school age.
He added, “No law empowers the state government of Ekiti to impose Education Development Levy on pupils/student as of mission schools in Ekiti state.”
Expressing serious concern on the propriety of the new levy, Ajakaye said that the Church viewed the new tax as another burden on parents whom he said were already overwhelmed with taxes in different forms by the state government.
He recalled with pain how the state, under the military regime in 1975, “forcibly” took over 106 Catholic primary schools with seven secondary schools and one technical school without compensation, adding that the new tax was unnecessary, more so that new schools established by the Church had been paying various levies and taxes demanded by both local and state governments.
“The Catholic Church in Ekiti land implores the state government to see the Church as great contributor to quality education and a formidable partner in the development of education in the state. Therefore, the status of the Catholic schools must be recognised as defined by their purposes and they should be treated accordingly,” Ajakaye added.
The state government, had in its bid to increase its Internally Generated Revenue introduced various taxes including the education development tax.
Under the new tax, each student of primary and secondary schools in private and public schools is required to pay N500 and N1,000 respectively per session.
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