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Nigeria needs zero taxation on foods -Agric startup

A Lagos-based tech for agriculture startup, Greenbles Agtech, has urged the Federal Government to create a presidential task force comprising state governors and security agencies to implement zero taxation on all food supplies across the country with heavy sanctions on those that flout such order.

It also enjoined the FG to invest heavily in mechanised farming, create an enabling environment for private sector players through single-digit loans, and adequate infrastructure in farm settlements such as roads, power and shared storage facilities to reduce post-harvest loss.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had, on February 15, said he would not set up any board to regulate prices of food commodities in the country.

He said, “What I will not do is to set a price control board. I will not also approve the importation of food,” at a meeting with 36 state governors, attended by the Vice-President, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the DSS, and some ministers

Decrying the causes of the inflation of food in the country, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the tech for agriculture startup connecting farmers across Nigeria, Oladapo Kasumu, on Tuesday, in Lagos, said the decision by the government to float the naira without wide consultation, scenario planning, and putting in place adequate mitigation has created a string of unintended consequences.

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“This has made our food cheaper for our neighbours to buy, we now have a situation in our hands, and middlemen in the agriculture value chain seek to make brisk money by selling our food supplies to our neighbours, hence robbing us of the already inadequate food supply due to poor harvest because of insecurity.

“The menace of banditry that has gone on unfettered in the last 10 years, has now come full cycle. Farmers in our food baskets in the North have virtually abandoned their farms due to the fear of being slaughtered or at best being heavily taxed by marauding bandits.

“The issue of farmer-herder conflict has been a recurring decimal all over the country, with no end in sight. This has greatly affected farm yield and outputs. Once again the last administration left this issue to fester unabated. The present government inherited a near comatose or non-existent response to this menace. But nine months down the line, they have not shown the level of vigour and seriousness needed to fight this cankerworm,” he said.

Kasumu said the decision of the government to remove the petrol subsidy without putting in place adequate mitigation plans is another causal issue in the skyrocketing food supply cost.

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He added, “Most of our food supply is distributed using road transportation largely powered by petrol and diesel. A near 300 per cent increase in petrol prices in one fell swoop is bound to add to the cost of food supplies.”

Gracie Brown
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