From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
With this year’s Christmas shopping fast approaching, dealers in food stuffs that supply goods to Anambra State have determined to stop further supply of food items following alleged imposition of heavy taxes by government.
Traders at Awka main market have as well protested the imposition alleging that touts were being used to rip off money under the guise of taxes and levies for government.
This development has created fears and tension among consumers in the area who assumed that the heavy tax and stoppage of supplies would lead to high cost of food items during the yuletide seasons next month.
“Some touts came to the market and stopped our suppliers from the North from unloading their goods unless they pay the sum of N 30,000 per truck as against the payment of N8,000 .00 that we use to pay before.
“They also insisted that we pay N 20,000 for trucks with six tires as against N 5,000.00 and the sum of N 6,000.00 for Datsun truck as against N 500.00 per truck.
“After the unloading of the goods , smaller trucks are being forced to pay N3,000.00 as against N 300.00 before the goods would be allowed to leave the market, ” said Chairman of Ekeh Awka Food Dealers Association, Mr Chukwuemeka Onyemechi during the protest.
He further lamented that as a result of the imposition of heavy taxes, the food suppliers had resolved not to supply those goods to Anambra State, saying that everybody knew the grave implications this Christmas season.
The market leader expressed fears that there would be high increase in the cost of food items.
“We sell Dawa at N 40,000 per bag; a bag of Joro is N 45,000; a bag of corn N 25,000; a bag of iorn beans N 60,000; potisko beans, N63,000; rice ,N45,000 for Nigeria-foreign and N27,000 for local rice.
“So with these imposition of heavy taxes, the prices of these goods would skyrocket and if they stop the supplies then this Christmas would be a season of pains for both the traders and our customers, “he said.
When contacted the Chairman of the Board Of Internal Revenue, Mr Obiora Maduebo directed the traders to the Chairman of Awka Main Market, Ozo Agumadu as the government point man.
But Agumadu contended that the revenue contract was awarded to a contractor at the cost of N50 million, adding that he had no hand in the taxation.
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