Bread levy to protect local bakers, says Kogi govt

The Kogi State Government has debunked insinuations it introduced fresh levies on master bakers, stating the levy has been in existence but only being about to be enforced.

The law, according to Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, is targeted at bakers from outside the state who bring in the commodity without paying.

Fanwo, who made the clarification in a statement in Lokoja on Friday, said the move was to protect indigenous bakers who suffer in the hands of those from outside of the states that come in to dump their products without paying levies.

He said contrary to what is being bandied around, the development is targeted at protecting the interest of the local establishments in the state.

The Commissioner said: “We have seen and read news reports about a letter from a consultant engaged by the Kogi State government to collect bakery levies.

“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.

“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 pack 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. Relevant ministries, agencies and parastatals shall continue to engage business owners to ensure government policies are tailored towards improving business health and wealth.

“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 producers have nothing to fear.”

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