The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers, Tuesday in Abuja narrated their ugly experiences in the hands of touts and gangs who are poised in driving them out from the market.
Speaking to newsmen at a press conference, General Secretary of the Union, Ahmed Alaramma said
“We welcome you to this world press conference to leverage your importance to inform the world of the widespread harassment of members of the amalgamated Union of foodstuff and cattle Dealers all over the country by illegal gangs. Their mode of operation is disguised
As that of private contractors for revenue collection for some states and local governments. Their habit is to mount roadblocks in the night and demand for taxes and levies from our members under severe duress. The presentation of receipts of taxes and levies paid at the point of embarkation is ignored”.
The secretary further stated that the prices of transporting their goods including multiple illegal taxation has skyrocketed thereby leaving the consumers at a disadvantage
“The multiple taxation for a truckload of cattle often amount to about 450,000 which is higher than the transportation cost of 330,000. Similarly, the illegitimate charges on truckload of foodstuff are about 226,000.
“In addition, there are over 30 military checkpoints, the police checkpoints are over 110 and other security agencies mount separate checkpoints in 35 locations. All the extra cost of procuring foodstuff and cattle, transportation and settling touts from the points of production and primary market on the way to the urban areas of need is consequently passed on to the final consumers.
“We have made representation in the past to the minister of Agriculture, minister of Labour and Employment, every leadership of the official security organizations of the country.
“Our pleas are that everyone should prevail on all lawful authorities in our country to end the illegal levies, multiple taxation, endemic harassment and offensive extortion of members of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers. Peaceful transaction of our business is needed to enable us to deliver foodstuff and cattle without disturbances, extortion and attacks. The lawful conduct of all will therefore, result that consumer goods are supplied to the people at affordable prices and for the general wellbeing of our country”. He concluded
However, a source from the Union that does not want to be named, hinted that if the government fails to intervene, members of the Union will close shops pending when their demands are met.