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General News of Saturday, 14 November 2020

Source: Legit

I did not impose tax on bread in Kogi state, says Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has expressed displeasure with news that his administration has imposed a tax on individual loaves of bread to be paid by bakeries and bread sellers in the state.

The governor denied the news making the rounds through his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, who released a statement on the issue on Saturday, November 14.

His words:

“We have just seen a purported consultancy agreement between one of our ministries and a private firm to impose an ill-conceived levy on bread in the state.

“For the records, neither the governor nor the state executive council has imagined or proposed such a devilish tax regime, how much less imposing same on any food or essential commodity, not to mention bread which is a table staple and the basic lifeline of many a household.”

The deputy governor said such a claim was an embarrassment to the state government.

He continued:

“I am directed by His Excellency to give the lie to news of an alleged tax imposed on each loaf of bread to be sold in Kogi state. There is no iota of truth in the claims that we have approved such wickedness because we have not and cannot.”

Onoja said he was himself shocked when news of the said policy started making the rounds on media platforms, saying that it ran contrary to the widely advertised posture of the state government that the people of Kogi state must not be subjected to any act or policy that will increase their pains in this COVID-19 season.

He highlighted Governor Bello's responses to issues impacting the welfare of his people during the pandemic as proof that such a tax runs counter to everything the administration stands for.

His words:

“It is well-documented in the media that Governor Yahaya Bello has fought powerful forces, more than any other governor perhaps, to keep his people safe. As COVID-19 ravaged the country and the world he has mobilised them for lifestyle changes that defeated the virus in the state.

“He spared them lockdowns and the inherent disruptions to their lives and livelihoods characteristic of covid responses in other places.”

Chief Onoja noted in his statement that though widely excoriated in those early days, Governor Bello remained undaunted because of his desire to protect his people at all costs.

He, therefore, urged residents of the state to disregard the alleged bread tax while assuring the general public that those behind the rumours totally would be fished out and punished.

Interestingly, the state's commissioner for communication and information, Kingsley Fanwo, had earlier said the decision was taken to protect local bakers from external sellers who try to take over the market.

He said the decision was taken in reaction to the cries by local bakers from traders who are bent on imposing monopoly in the market.

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