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.”
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Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.11% in Q1 – NBS report
The National Bureau of Statistics has said the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.11 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS said this on Monday in its new Gross Domestic Product Report, showing the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth.
It stated the first quarter 2022 growth rate further represented gradual economic stability due to strong growth posted by the non-oil sector.
Part of the report read, “The Q1 2022 growth rate was higher than the 0.51% growth rate recorded in Q1 2021 by 2.60% points and lower than 3.98% recorded in Q4 2021 by 0.88% points. “Nevertheless, quarter-on-quarter, real GDP grew at -14.66% in Q1 2022 compared to Q4 2021, reflecting a lower economic activity than the preceding quarter.
“In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N45,317,823.33 million in nominal terms.
“This performance is higher when compared to the first quarter of 2021, which recorded aggregate GDP of N40,014,482.74 million, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25%.
“The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25% growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021 and higher compared to the 13.11% growth recorded in the preceding quarter.”
Reps summon NPA, terminal operators over huge debt owed FG
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has summoned the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority and seaport terminal operators over $852.094 million and N1.897 billion and other funds owed the Federal Government.
According to the committee, N269.410 million of the N1.8 billion has been recovered while the balance of N1.6 billion “invoices processed on the encumbered areas remains unpaid.”
It added, “The sum of $504,663,452.37 is volume change on fix lease lease fee payment by APMT arising from clauses in the concession agreement between NPA and APMT out of the total sum of $852,093,730.77.
“Bills raised on encumbered areas which remain unpaid is $19,169,459.00. The following has been paid GMT-$54,707,700.08, unpaid penalties – $11,922,642.68 and unpaid VAT-$28,693,707.07”.
“$92,533,518.72 has been recovered; leaving unpaid lease and throughput fee in the sum of $139,970,637.71 (made up of $113,982,486.82 and $5,988,150.89) respectively.
The committee directed the NPA management to reconcile their records with the office of the AuGF and provide evidence of remitting the recovered N269.51m and $92.534m to the government.
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