The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has denied any knowledge of any plan by the state government to impose a tax on loaves of bread.
He described as an embarrassment the report credited to the state government as endorsing a new tax to be paid by bakery operators and sellers on every loaf of bread.
Bello made the clarification through the Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, in a statement.
He said, “We have just seen a purported consultancy agreement between one of our ministries and a private firm to impose an ill-conceived levy on bread in the state.
“For the records, neither the governor nor the state executive council has imagined or proposed such a devilish tax regime, how much less imposing same on any food or essential commodity, not to mention bread which is a staple and the lifeline of many a household.”
The governor added that such a claim was “in fact, an embarrassment to the state government.”
The deputy governor revealed that his boss directed him to debunk the news to underscore how serious government considered the disinformation.
“I am directed by His Excellency to give the lie to 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.”
He added that Governor Bello’s responses to issues impacting the welfare of his people during the COVID-19 pandemic as a proof that such a tax ran counter to everything the administration stood for.
“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 responses in other places. He scrupulously obeyed WHO and NCDC guidelines to provide testing to high risk individuals.”
Onoja said Governor Yahaya Bello remained undaunted because of his desire to protect his people at all costs.
He added, “Today, the results of my governor’s novel approach to the novel coronavirus are evident for all to see on every daily update given by the federal authorities.
“Kogi State sits at the bottom of that list, and even those five cases allocated to us are controversial at best. To put it mildly, we have had no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kogi State.
“About three months ago, we rolled out the Kogi Care Initiative, for which Council approved N1.56 billion as a post-COVID economic stimulus and recovery programme customised for different sections of our people – the poor, the elderly and the MSMEs.”
He therefore rejected the idea that “we can now impose a tax on individual loaves of bread sold in the state.”
The deputy governor said that no additional financial burden would be imposed on Kogi citizens and assured that “any business which has met the regulatory requirements for doing business in Kogi State including payment of routine tax is entitled to operate freely, and that includes bakeries and bread traders.”
State governors responsible for rising poverty, not FG, says minister
The Federal Government has blamed state governors for the rising rate of poverty in the country.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, gave this position at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.
He said the governors prioritised the construction of heavy infrastructure such as bridges and airports in cities rather than improving the lives of the rural poor.
According to him, about 72 per cent of Nigeria’s poor live in neglected rural communities.
Agba said the governors had abandoned the critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.
He said, “The governors are basically functioning in their state capitals. And democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. And from our demography, it shows that the greatest number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.
“Right now, 70 per cent of our people live in rural areas. They produce 90 per cent of what we eat. And unfortunately 60 per cent of what they produce is lost due to post harvest loss and it does not get to the market.
“I think from the Federal Government’s side, we are doing our best. But we need to say that rather than governors continuing to compete to take loans to build airports that are not necessary, where they have other airports so close to them, or governors now competing to build flyovers all over the place, we appeal that they should concentrate on building rural roads so that the farmers can at least get their products to the market.”
Citing the findings of a recent survey he conducted across the 109 senatorial districts nationwide, the minister said Sokoto State ranked the highest on the poverty scale, followed by the oil-rich state of Bayelsa.
“The result clearly show that 72 per cent of poverty is in the rural areas. It also showed clearly that Sokoto State is leading in poverty with 91 per cent.
“But the surprising thing is Bayelsa being the second in terms of poverty rating in the country. So, you see the issue is not about availability of money. But it has to do with the application of money,” he said.
Agba lamented that despite the Federal Government’s intervention to alleviate poverty, the results did not reflect the amount of investment made in the area.
He said, “In the course of working on the national development plan, we looked at previous plans and asked why they didn’t do as much as expected. We also looked at the issues of the National Social Investment Programme.
“At the federal level, the government is putting out so much money but not seeing so much reflection in terms of money that has been put into alleviating poverty, which is one of the reasons the government also put in place the national poverty reduction with growth strategy.
“But if the Federal Government puts the entire income that it earns into all of this without some form of complementarity from the state governments in playing their part, it will seem as if we are throwing money in the pond.”
JAC woos customers, slashes car prices in Yuletide promo
JAC Motors Nigeria has commenced a price slash special end-of-year promo for its numerous existing customers as well as potential customers across the country.
The company says it wants its customers to celebrate holidays and the festive season in a grand style through its latest sales promotion tagged, ‘JAC Motors End of Year Promo’.
It says in a statement that it will offer a discount of N1 million on any of the JAC models purchased during the promo period, which will run till the January 10, 2023.
This, according to the auto firm, is to enable the buyers to use the N1 million for other essential items needed for the family during the festive period.
Already, the auto firm says players in both the public and private sectors are already taking advantage of the promo to acquire quality vehicles this season and enjoy the mouth-watering discount.
It says, “Festive periods are synonymous with the act of giving. JAC Motors will, as part of the End of Year Promo, give its customers not just the N1 million discount on every car purchased but also ample value-added services that come with after-sale support to strengthen the durability and performances of all vehicles purchased. Now is your chance to drive your dream JAC car in this season of giving.”
Explaining why JAC Motors is offering the unique end-of-year promo, the Head of Brand and Marketing Communication of the company, Mr Franklyn Okotie, stated that the year had its fair share of challenges on everyone.
“There is no better way and time than now to thank all our customers who go the extra mile to make the JAC brand stronger and continually promote us. For this reason and more, we will always support and positively impact our customers as we steadfastly meet the vehicular and transportation needs in Nigeria.”
He advised that their existing and potential customers to log onto this website – https://jacnigeria.com/end-of-year-promo/ to get their dream car today, even as he promised that a JAC car would be a remarkable gift to a friend this season.
The firm said the JAC vehicles are of best quality, durable, beautifully designed with modern-day aesthetics, optimum performance and highly fuel efficient.
“JAC vehicles are tropicalized, made tough to withstand all the challenging terrains on Nigerian roads. Elizade Autoland offers JAC passenger cars, commercial vehicles and light duty trucks,” it added.
Kia offers football fans fun, prizes, drive in latest EV in Qatar
As the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup moves into the round of 16, high flying Korean automaker, Kia Motors, says it is providing more exciting moments for spectators in the Qatar stadiums where matches are being played.
The auto company is activating what it calls two must-see activations along with a host of exciting prizes for football fans visiting the match centres.
The activations will be hosted at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, and Khalifa International Stadium, where Kia’s latest generation EV6 GT, Sportage, K5, Telluride, K8, Sorento will all be on display, Kia says in a statement.
According to the firm, the first activation offers a thrilling simulator experience “where spectators can drive a Kia vehicle of their choice from the automaker’s latest line up.”
The second activation invites football fans to win big by participating in a football challenge, where successful participants can walk away with a Kia branded cap, towel or wristband.
It says, “Visitors can check out Kia’s spot at the FIFA Fan Festival™ zone, which is the perfect place to experience the World Cup, as it is the central destination where fans from all over the world can come together to share their love of football and celebrate the electrifying atmosphere of the global event.
“At the FIFA Fan Festival™, Kia’s Ground of Inspiration will offer audiences a chance to check out the Kia EV9 Concept, which embodies an adventurous and recreational form with its rugged and upright stance.
“Fitted with a solar panel built into the car bonnet and an interior made from sustainable materials, this electric car reimagines what an all-electric vehicle can be.”
It also says alongside the activations, the automaker will support 64 Official Match Ball Carriers (OMBC) across the tournament.
The statement says, “Children from about 20 different nations globally will enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of carrying the official match ball to the pitch at the start of all matches.
“As a partner of the FIFA World Cup™, the automotive brand will support the operation of the world’s greatest sporting event by providing an official event vehicle fleet that will include Kia passenger cars to facilitate the safe and convenient mobility of players, referees, VIPs and staff, as well as Kia-branded buses specifically dedicated to transport national teams and referees.”
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