GOVERNOR Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Saturday gave a twist to the newly introduced bread levy in the state, saying he knew nothing about it.
He branded the levy devilish tax regime.
Deputy Governor Edward Onoja in a statement in Lokoja said the state executive council levy was also not privy to the levy announced by the state’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
His words: “I am directed by His Excellency to give the lie to the 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.”
The levy, Onoja added, was 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.”
Continuing, he said: “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-19 responses in other places.”
“He scrupulously obeyed WHO and NCDC guidelines to provide testing to high risk individuals. He relied on pioneering use of Rapid Test Kits for the coronavirus long before they became mainstream. He responded swiftly with contact tracing and quarantines on all suspected cases.”
Information Commissioner Kingsley Fanwo had said on Friday that the levy was aimed at protecting bakers based in the state.
He said 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 Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Kogi State branch, had received a letter to the effect that the state government hired a consultant, Musag Enterprises, to levy bakers and caterers for every loaf of bread and confectionery they produce in the state.
The collection of the levy was billed to commence tomorrow.
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