The Ondo State Internal Revenue Service ( ODIRS) says over 80 per cent of intra-state commercial drivers in the state do not have valid driver’s licence.Tolu Adegbie, the Executive Chairman of ODIRS, stated this during a press conference on Thursday in Akure.
According to Adegbie, this was discovered in the course of compulsory registration ordered by the state government to address insecurity and criminalities in the state.
The ODIRS Boss also said the state would implement whatever it is stated in the law in respect to Value Added Tax (VAT) collection in the state.
Adegbie noted that the agency had carried its research and passed its observation to the state government for consideration.
“We will implement law that has been passed by the state and we have done our research and we have passed out observation and at the appropriate time, the government will take a decision.
“But if the case is won in favour of the state, what happens? It means that we will be collecting VAT”, he said.
He added that the state has a Consumption Tax which he said was passed in 2019 but was suspended in 2020 because of Covid-19 outbreak.
According to him, the consumption tax is different from VAT.
“The implementation of consumption law has started now. We have written to hotels in the state but some are still confused saying that this tax is the same as VAT.
“They are not. While they may both be Consumption Tax. One is based on sales while other is on value on transaction. This is only on hotel and restaurant.
“So those hotels writing to us that VAT case is in court should know that this one is not in court. It’s not subjected to litigation.”
He explained that about 800 vehicles had been registered so far, adding that 80 per cent of the drivers did not have valid driver’s license.
Adegbie added that the result of survey carried out by the agency shows that about 64 per cent of private vehicle owners in the state did not have valid driver’s licence.
Adegbie noted that such situation could no longer be tolerated in the state, saying that the state governor had been informed by the ugly situation.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Special Duties and Strategies, Doyin Odebowale said that the government would immediately commence enforcement by impounding commerce vehicles that had not been registered as stipulated as well as people without valid driver’s licence.
“The enforcement is immediate. We have given four months for commercial vehicle drivers to register their vehicles and we can’t extend it.
“About 800 commercial vehicles have registered so far and your vehicles must be painted in the colour of the state.
“And it is not only commercial vehicles but those private vehicles without valid papers will be impounded”, he stated.
The SSA urged those drivers without valid papers to comply and get their papers, promising that all perceived bottlenecks would be removed as much as possible.
“We will remove bottlenecks as much as possible. Comply because enforcement is immediately.
“We will be moving round to ensure that nobody is harassed unduly. If you don’t have licence and you are driving, you are a menace to the society.
“And you go through any middlemen, you will only compound your problem. So, come forward now and do the needful”, he said.
He warned any driving school extorting people or engaging in sharp practices to desist from such acts, saying that any erring driving school caught would be shut.
Also, Kayode Ogundele, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Transport, enjoined the citizenry to comply with the directive for their own safety and well-being.
“The present government is a government of law and order and this is reflected in its actions. Everything that will ensure that our citizens are secure and safe must not be overlooked.
“We are ready to follow the process of enforcement without fear and favour. It is not expected of anyone who is not licenced to be on the road.
“Anyone caught should face the music. And I want to plead to our citizens that whatever the government is doing is for our own interest. We, therefore, expect your full cooperation.”