The levies on bread loaves and confectionaries in Kogi State are not new taxes, the state government has said.
The government on Friday said that bakeries in the state had been paying the levies in compliance with the state government’s revenue law.
It said the levies were part of its strategies to protest local bakers and the state’s economy.
The government gave the explanation in response to a report by that it has engaged a consulting firm to collect the levies from bakers and caterers.
Reactions to the report were mostly critical of the levies, many questioning its appropriateness at a time when small and medium business owners are just recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But in a statement on Friday, the state’s commissioner for information and communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said the levies are not new and that the engagement of a firm to collect them was one of its strategies for protecting its indigenous bakers.
Mr Fanwo said the state’s indigenous bakers had complained of poor sales due to bakers who pay no tax to the state bringing bread from outside the state to sell in Kogi.
The full statement
THE FACTS ABOUT THE BAKERY LEVIES
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 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.
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 consumers have nothing to fear.
The present administration in the State has, through her policies, oversees a steady increase in the number of businesses. We work for the people, with the people and will continue to listen to all interests.
Kingsley Femi Fanwo
Commissioner for Information and Communications