- Influx of bread products into Kogi has led to closure of 70 bakeries, 1,200 job loss – Indigenous Bakers
Kogi state government has defended the newly introduced levy on every loaf of bread sold in the state.
In a statement issued by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, on Monday, the state government clarified that the levy is designed to protect indigenous bakers from those who bring bread to the state without paying any form of levy.
Commenting on the memo about a consultant engaged by the Kogi State Government to collect bakery levies, Fanwo said 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,” he said.
He assured the master bakers of the state government’s open door policy and its 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, overseen a steady increase in the number of businesses. We work for the people, with the people and will continue to listen to all interests.”
About three months ago, the Association of Master bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), Kogi state branch, cried out that the influx of all manner of bread products into the state had led to the closure of 70 bakeries, a development that had rendered over 1,200 bakers jobless.
Chairman of Kogi branch of AMBCN, Mr Bamidele Gabriel, also complained the quality of flour products coming into the state.
Gabriel said that many bread from outside the state have been found to still use bromade and other unauthorised products.
Commenting on complaints from the Abuja branch of AMBCN of being barred from entering Kogi on the orders of the chairman of the Kogi branch, Gabriel explained that bakers from outside has been resisting efforts to bring them under the association in the state by refusing to register their bakeries in the state.
According to him, his members are the ones paying taxes and other levies to the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service to remain in business.
Gabriel who said that the state government was fully aware of the stress his members had been going through as result of the activities of the bakers in the neighbouring states.