A Kogi-based Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has called on the state government to remodel the enforcement of its tax drive on smallholder farmers and transporters to check the high cost of food.
Mr Hamza Aliyu, the Executive Director of Initiative for Grassroots Advancement (INGRA), made the call in a statement on Friday in Lokoja.
He said it was worrisome that the cost of food in the state was getting out of control.
Aliyu said that the recent National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on inflation (Core and food inflation) showed that there was an increase nationally.
He said that the rate increased from 14.23 per cent in October to 14.89 per cent in November 2020.
Aliyu said that the statistics also showed that in terms of food index, Edo led the list with 21.65 per cent followed by Zamfara, 20.88, Kogi 20.58 and Sokoto 20.5 per cent.
He said that Plateau had 20.26 per cent, while Ondo recorded the lowest inflation rate with 14.23 per cent followed by Ogun 14.47, Lagos 14.57, Bauchi 14.85, and Gombe 14.88 percentages respectively.
Aliyu revealed that the major drivers of food inflation were recorded in the prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, alcoholic and food beverages, Oils and Fats.
He attributed the recent cause of food inflation in Kogi to “the vicious collection of tax across all sectors of the state economy’’.
“From education to agriculture and businesses, there appeared to be a concerted effort at ensuring that every taxable entity paid.’’
He noted that the cost of transportation had doubled in the last one month due to the recent clamp down on Tricycle operators by a new entity in the state called “Federal Task Force”.
“Operators are made to pay more than 100 per cent of their usual levy with the consumer, naturally bearing the brunt. The action of the state government had a knock-down effect on the cost of food.
“It is undeniable that government needs to expand its tax net to meet with its responsibilities.
“The very fabric of existence for the indigenes in the state is being torn apart with these taxes, especially in the agricultural sector.
“We call on the state government to look into the Ministry of Agriculture to immediately reassess their activities in the enforcement of these levies on small-holder farmers and transporters. (NAN)