Tony Okafor, Awka
Food stuff dealers in Anambra State have protested what they called heavy taxation by the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo.
As a consequence, they have threatened to stop supply of goods to the state if the government continued with the tax regime.
According to the dealers, the state government had been imposing heavy taxes on them for bringing in food stuff to the state from the north.
The Chairman of Eke Awka Food Stuff Dealers Association, Mr Chukwuemeka Onyemechi, who spoke to reporters on Thursday during a peaceful protest, said some hoodlums allegedly working with government’s agents came to the market and stopped them from off-loading their goods unless they paid N30,000 per truck as against N8,000.
Onyemechi said, “They also insisted that we pay N20,000 for a truck with six tyres as against N5,000 and the sum of N6,000 for Datsun truck as against N500 per truck.
“After the off loading of goods, smaller trucks were forced to pay N3,000 as against N300 before the goods would be allowed to leave the market.”
According to him, with the imposition of heavy taxes, the food suppliers had resolved not to supply goods to Anambra State until the government rescind its decision.
He said the heavy taxation might affect the cost of food items during Christmas and expressed the fear that there could be increase in the cost of food items.
He added, “We sell geniue corn (dawa) at N40,000 per bag, a bag of millet (jero) at N45,000, a bag of corn at N25,000, a bag of iron beans at N60,000, potisko beans, N63,000 , N45,000 for foreign rice and N27,000 for local rice.
“So, with these imposition of heavy taxes, the prices of these goods would skyrocket and if they stop the supplies during this Christmas period, this may be a season of pains for both the traders and our customers.”
When contacted, the Chairman of the Board Of Internal Revenue, Obiora Maduebo, said the traders should direct their challenges to the Chairman of Awka Main Market, Ozo Jude Agumadu.
But Agumadu in his reaction said the revenue contract was awarded to a contractor at the cost of N50m per annum, noting that he had no hand in the taxation.