President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed surprise that illegal tax collections still persist across major parts of the country long after they were abolished, thereby hindering effective functioning of private sector businesses.
“I am appalled to learn that these illegal tax collections still persist. Bad habits are not easily dropped.”
The President, who was reacting to the leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria (AUFCDN), which drew his attention to the unhealthy practice of illegal tax collections, said that his government has genuine intention to eliminate illegal taxes in the country, despite the fact that “old habits die hard.
“Let me assure you that relevant security agencies will be reminded of their duties in preventing these bad practices and safeguarding people like you who go about their legitimate businesses.
“I will take up all your appeals and complaints in due course and together with State Governments, we will attend to your proposals.”
Buhari described the association as very important and strategic to the nation’s economy, adding: “the merchandise and products you trade in are basic to any economy. The real wealth of this country lies in agriculture and livestock rearing.”
He pledged that his government would continue to do its best to assist the sector, noting that some of the more advanced countries like Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark built their economies primarily on agriculture and livestock trade.
On the 2019 elections, President Buhari appreciated the associations’ support for his government even as he recalled that they also demonstrated their solidarity for his candidacy in the build-up to the 2015 elections.
The General Secretary of the Union, Alhaji Ahmed Alarama, declared that they will work for the re-election of President Buhari because of the great strides his administration has taken to put the country on the path of sustainable growth.
Alarama advised the President to ensure that the union is represented on the national campaign teams for the Buhari/Osinbajo re-election movement as a way of playing the campaign role effectively.
On the issue of illegal tax collections, Alarama reported that roadblocks are mounted by unknown persons on several highways including those in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Imo and Bayelsa States and these continue to constitute a hindrance to our businesses.
He commended the Buhari government for the progress of work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, even as he called on the Federal Government to establish a food and livestock market with close proximity to road and rail around Lagos-Ogun State expressway.