Gov. Ododo’s Taxes Cripple Kogi Cashew Sector

by Ohepo Ohepo

Kogi State’s cashew farmers and traders, represented by the Farmers Forum of Nigeria, are voicing their concerns about a proposed increase in produce fees from ₦30,000 to ₦90,000. They are urgently requesting the intervention of Governor Usman Ododo to put an end to the excessive taxation and harassment they’re facing, fearing it could tarnish Kogi State’s reputation.

Barrister Ibrahim Adam, the forum’s spokesperson, emphasized in a statement that the community is struggling under the weight of these taxes and appealed to President Bola Tinubu to instruct the Ministry of Agriculture to take action against the burdensome taxation system.

The Farmers Forum aims to elevate Nigerian agriculture, enhance farming practices, and reestablish agriculture as a cornerstone of community and individual prosperity.

The statement detailed that Kogi State’s Produce Inspection Department (PID) imposes the nation’s highest inspection fee of ₦30,000 per truck, compared to much lower fees in states like Kano, Gombe, and Katsina, among others. It also outlined the disparity in fees across various states, highlighting the undue financial pressure on Kogi’s cashew sector.

Moreover, the forum criticized the array of ambiguous charges levied on cashew traders in Kogi, including interstate, loading and offloading, and environmental fees, all of which are collected by the Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue. The presence of numerous roadblocks, often manned by individuals demanding bribes and intimidating those in the cashew trade, further exacerbates the situation.

Adam called for an immediate cessation of these multiple taxes, arguing that they not only ridicule Kogi State but also discourage foreign investment, affecting the livelihoods of local farmers and traders.

The statement implores the Kogi state government to reconsider its taxation strategy on cashew products to foster a business-friendly environment, aligning with national efforts to ease doing business and attract foreign investments. It warns that the current taxation and harassment practices are detrimental to the state’s agricultural sector, urging federal intervention to alleviate the hardships faced by the cashew farming and trading community.

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