How multiple tax, herdsmen activities forcing agricultural businesses into extinction —Stakeholders

MAJOR stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy have bemoaned the rate at which multiple taxation by governments is killing the business of agriculture in the country, stating that businesses would soon go into extinction.

The stakeholders in a statement signed by their spokesperson, Alhaji Bala Abdulkadir, a copy of which was made available to journalists on Monday noted that food scarcity was imminent in Nigeria with activities of herdsmen and militants engaging farmers and sending them out of business.

“In addition to this, multiple tax introduced by some states in the country against farmers is 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 to their farmers so as to guarantee food security.

“Though part of the challenges militating against farm business includes: weather hazard as in inadequate rain, flood invasion, pest invasion, disease outbreak among livestock, glut etc. 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.”

The statement further read that:”Enumerated facts are the major reasons agricultural business could not accommodate multiple tax. Agricultural business cannot survive with multiple tax 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 try 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 agriculture stakeholders also noted that government also introduced many wages/levies which amount to burden and multiple tax on farmers. They listed these to include: environmental levies and gaseous emission by ministry of environment.

Other bottlenecks they observed add 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 includes: charges on day old chicks, charges on feed, charges on broiler among others.

The stakeholders also alleged:”Transport ministry have many operators dealing decisively with farmers transporting their goods. These includes: V.I.O, Police, traffic police, FRSC, local government 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 i.e 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.

The statement concluded that:”It is time for government at all levels rise to defend farmers and get them protected against multiple tax and all other challenges. We suggest farmers should be considered for tax relief or in the altdernative, allow the company income tax and personal tax income remain rather than looking for avenue to send farmers parking through other means of levies.”

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