‘We’re Suffocating’, Kogi Cashew Farmers Protest Multiple Taxation

Kogi farmers and buyers, under the aegis of the Farmers Forum of Nigeria, have raised alarm over the plot to increase the produce payment from ₦30,000 to ₦90,000.

The forum appealed to the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo, to halt multiple taxation in the state because it would turn Kogi State into a laughingstock.

In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Barrister Ibrahim Adam, the Forum expressed that the State government should stop suffocating them as they can no longer bear the burden of multiple taxation in the state.

The forum also called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the Ministry of Agriculture to address multiple taxation, stating that they can no longer breathe.

The Farmers Forum is a platform formed by concerned farmers who aim to standardize the level of agriculture in Nigeria, improve the farming system, and restore agriculture as the bedrock of communal and individual wealth, as it was in the past.

According to the statement, “The Produce Inspection Department (PID) in Kogi State charges the highest inspection fee in the country at ₦30,000 per truck, while other states such as Kano, Gombe, Katsina, Yobe, and others charge significantly lower fees.

The breakdown is as follows: Kogi PID ₦30,000, Kano PID ₦5000, Gombe PID ₦5,000, Katsina PID ₦3,000, Yobe PID ₦2,000, Nasarawa PID ₦20,000, Benue PID ₦25,000, Oyo PID ₦20,000, Niger PID ₦10,000, Bauchi PID ₦5,000, Jigawa PID ₦3,000, Yola PID ₦4,000, Kaduna PID ₦7,000, and Osun PID ₦10,000.”

“Other unexplained receipts, which amount to multiple taxation imposed on Kogi state cashew buyers, have this breakdown of the various levies: interstate levy (AKA 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, and 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 guns and other dangerous weapons scaring the foreigners.

Adam also urged the government to halt multiple taxes in the state, which he claims make Kogi more of a laughingstock.

The statement further appealed to the Kogi state government, under the leadership of Alhaji Usman Ododo, to promptly rein in its internally generated revenue head and reconsider plans to impose more taxes on cashew products.

According to Adams, these plans contradict the ease of doing business, deter foreign buyers and investors, and impoverish the farmers, as cashew buyers in Kogi State and other foreigners directly bear the brunt of these multiple taxes.

“The tax burden on cashew farmers, who should be relieved during the cashew season, is being exacerbated by the state 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 State.

“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, as 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.“

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