By Sumaila Ogbaje
Cashew farmers and buyers in Kogi, under the aegis of the Farmers Forum of Nigeria (FFN), have called on Gov. Usman Ododo to intervene over alleged multiple taxation and extortion.
The forum in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Adam, on Monday alleged that there was a plot to increase the produce payment on cashew from ₦30,000 to ₦90,000 by the agents of the state government.
Adam appealed to the governor to halt multiple taxation in the state, adding that the move would impede the growth of economy and turn Kogi into a laughingstock
He said that the farmers and buyers of cashew product were being suffocated, saying they could no longer bear the burden of multiple taxation and undue harassment by the state agents.
The forum spokesman also called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the Ministry of Agriculture to address multiple taxation, stating that they could no longer breathe.
According to him, the Produce Inspection Department (PID) in Kogi charges the highest inspection fee in the country at ₦30,000 per truck, while other states charge significantly lower fees.
He said that other states such as Kano, Gombe, Katsina, Yobe, Yola, Nasarawa, Benues amongst others charged significantly lower fees than Kogi.
According to him, Kogi PID charges ₦30,000, while Kano charges ₦5000, Gombe ₦5,000, Katsina ₦3,000, Yobe ₦2,000, Yola ₦4,000, Jigawa ₦3,000, Kaduna ₦7,000, Bauchi ₦5,000Nasarawa ₦20,000, Benue ₦25,000, Oyo ₦20,000, Niger ₦10,000 and Osun ₦10,000.
He also expressed concern over other unexplained receipts and levies, which amount to multiple taxation imposed on Kogi cashew buyers.
“These are interstate levy (also known as haulage fee) ₦13,000, IML ₦5,000, loading and offloading fee ₦12,000, pass ₦5,000, state environmental fee ₦6,000, local government environmental fee ₦5,000, and local government departmental fee ₦10,000.
“All these levies are from Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue.
“There are also numerous roadblocks under the auspices of produce extorting motorists and harassing drivers and buyers carrying these goods cashew from farm gate carrying to the warehouse for sale.
“Some of the boys are even carrying dangerous weapons scaring the foreigners,” he said.
Adam also appealed to Ododo to promptly rein in its internally generated revenue head and reconsider plans to impose more taxes on cashew products.
These plans, according to Adam, contradict the ease of doing business, adding that it will deter foreign buyers and investors and impoverish the farmers because cashew buyers in Kogi and other foreigners directly bear the brunt of these multiple taxes.
He added that the tax burden on cashew farmers, who should be relieved during the cashew season, was being exacerbated by the government’s policies.
“Additional unexplained levies, amounting to multiple taxation on Kogi State cashew buyers, include interstate levies, loading and offloading fees, pass fees, state and local government environmental fees, and local government departmental fees.
“All these levies are imposed by the Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue, and numerous roadblocks manned by individuals claiming to be government agents further exacerbate the situation.
“The unnecessary harassment of cashew farmers and buyers by these individuals is hindering the cashew business in Kogi.
“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other Federal Government agencies, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, to intervene and urge the state government to cease these levies.
“They are causing undue hardship to the people, the majority of whom are cashew farmers and traders.
“Kogi State cannot be an exception from other cashew-producing states like Enugu, Niger, Edo, Benue, and Nasarawa States,” he added. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola