Edo - Mr Lucky Irukpe, the Edo Chairman, Traders Welfare Union, has said that the state government loses N1.2 million to illegal tax collectors every week in all the major markets in the state.
Irukpe told newsmen on Thursday in Benin that illegal tax collectors invaded markets and extorted money from street traders that were not remitted to the government.
He said that the act was being carried out by some of the committee members set up by government and private owners of market stalls.
The chairman said he had been a victim of extortion for the past 17 years, adding that the revenue collected were not going into the coffers of the state government.
He said that the population of street traders were more than the regular traders inside the market, adding that a one-million capacity market could not accommodate the traders.
Irukpe said the traders are the only ones that can stop street trading within 21 days, if given the opportunity.
``We are determined to put a stop to street trading to ensure that the sufferings and unjust harassment of the traders in the hands of illegal tax collectors becomes a thing of the past.''
According to him, the committees set up to put a stop to street trading are not capable, because they lack moral justification to tackle the menace.
Irukpe explained that the street trading was an embarrassment to the on-going development stride of the governor, adding thatit was occasioned by agents and landlords, who hike the rent on their shops.
He called on the state government to address the issue of the agents and landlords, who took advantage of the every situation to increase prices of shops.
The chairman appealed to government to provide a trading space for each street trader to ensure that the revenue got into the coffers of government.