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Multiple taxation, herdsmen onslaughts undermining agric business — Stakeholders

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Stakeholders have warned that agric business may soon go into extinction if issues of multiple taxation, activities of herdsmen and militants against farmers are not addressed.

The stakeholders, in a statement signed by their spokesperson, Alhaji Bala Abdulkadir, said food scarcity is imminent in the country, considering the rising onslaught of herdsmen and militants disrupting activities of farmers.

“Multiple taxes introduced by some states against farmers are not helping issue. Everyone believes the fact that agricultural business is hazardous in nature. Hence, many of the international communities apply tax relief or exception for their farmers to guarantee food security.

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“Though part of the challenges militating against farm business includes weather hazards like inadequate rain, flood invasion, pest invasion, disease outbreak among livestock and glut, but it is pertinent to note that current cost of diesel and electricity tariff in running farm machineries is not helpful, as this is a burden to farmers on its own.”

He stated that enumerated facts are the major reasons agricultural business could not accommodate multiple taxes, adding that agricultural business cannot survive with multiple taxes which has been introduced by some state governments.

“Tax is supposed to come from farmers’ profit but now the reverse is the case as the government tries to forcefully generate tax from farmers fund and borrowed fund. In the past, farmers pay company income tax to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). In addition, states collect personal income tax from company’s directors and staff, also education levy is being collected.”

The stakeholders also bemoaned various levies like environmental levies and gaseous emission by ministry of environment, which amounts to more burdens on the farmers.

“Other bottlenecks that are putting burden on farmers are land use charges by the Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Agriculture, introduction of levies on items and products produced by farmers which also include: charges on day old chicks, charges on feed, charges on broiler among others.

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“Transport ministry has many operators dealing decisively with farmers transporting their goods. These include: Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), Police, traffic police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Local Council contractors/agents and consultants generating all kinds of levies from farmers.

“The worse part of it is the outrageous bill imposed by these tax collectors, like tax consultants, contractors and agents. They raised bills in millions and then call for negotiation. Government needs to realise that farmers are employers of labour, sending them out of business means sending more people to the unemployment market, which may result into insecurity of the nation as a hungry man is an angry man.”

They called on government at all levels to rise to defend farmers and get them protected against multiple taxation and all other challenges. “We suggest farmers should be considered for tax relief or in the alternative, allow the company income tax and personal tax income to remain, rather than looking for avenue to undermine farmers through various levies.”

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