The Kogi State Government has imposed a levy on each loaf of bread produced in the state.
This was made known in a memo from the state’s Ministry of Commerce to the state chapter of the Association of Master bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN).
Confirming the development, Kingsley Fanwo, the state Commissioner for Information, said, in a statement on Friday, that the levy was already in place but modified to protect indigenous bakers in the state who complained of the activities of bakers from outside the state.
Fanwo explained that the move will ensure that the external bakers “who bring their bread to the state without paying any form of levy” will now be taxed.
He added that the levy is on every bread sold, not just those baked in the state.
“Let us place on record that the levies are not new. Indigenous bakeries have been paying all their levies to the State Government in compliance to our revenue law,” he told The Cable.
“The recent letter was one of our strategies at protecting our Indigenous bakers and also protect our economy from the activities of bakers outside the State who bring their bread to the State without paying any form of levy. No responsible Government will sit by and watch her indigenous businesses lose the local market.
“Our indigenous bakers have complained bitterly about the activities of external bakers who packed their bread to the State in trucks and sell without paying anything to the State Government. Poor sales by our bakers may lead to job losses, a situation we are determined to use legitimate means to avert.
“As a Government, we have put in place tax relief measures to protect businesses from the unfortunate fangs of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not insensitive to the plight of business owners at this critical period.”
The Commissioner further said the levy is not an additional burden on the indigenous bakers whom he said were already being charged per loaf.
“The levy is for bread sold in the state, not only the bread baked in the state. The previous levy was also charged per loaf. So nothing has changed for them,” he said.
“We assure the master bakers of our open door policy and our readiness to keep listening to them in order to smoothen relationships and factors aiding their production as bread consumers have nothing to fear.”
Reacting to the development, Godfirst, an executive member of AMBCN, expressed displeasure saying, “we are facing different types of challenges, and if they are now asking us to pay another tax, we don’t know how we can cope”.
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