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Prome market authorities demand high taxes from vendors

Mar 18, 2008 (DVB), Business owners in Prome township, Bago division, have complained about the high level of taxation imposed on their shops in the town's market by municipal authorities.

One local vendor said shop owners who rent premises in front of the Prome township market have been asked to pay a daily 500-kyat rental fee to the market authorities and an extra 200-kyat market tax.

"Each shop has to pay at least 15,000 kyat [per month] for rental and a further 6000 kyat as tax to the market," said the vendor.

"They are also asking for money from everyone who runs a business in the market, even on days when their shops are closed."

The vendor said the rate of taxation imposed exceeds the limits set by the government’s official guidelines.

He added that shop owners had no choice but to pay the money because they did not want to lose their businesses.

"When someone offers to pay more to rent a space that is already occupied, they will use any excuse to kick out the original tenant," he said.

The vendor claimed that all the tax money collected from the shops goes to U Min Naing, the market director who introduced the tax system.

"There are a lot of shops surrounding the market and all the money collected from them goes into U Min Naing’s pocket," he said.

"It is also very annoying to hear the rude and loud voices of the market’s municipal officials extorting money from people every day."

Business owners at Prome township market are now preparing to file a complaint to senior government authorities about the municipal officials' extortion of tax money.

Min Naing’s office could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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