Rice processors and transporters in Gombe State have cried out to the state government over alleged Multiple taxation threatening to shut down the business.
They have therefore urged the government to harmonise the taxes being collected at various points, including suspicious areas in the state.
They stated this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Wednesday.
According to them, the multiple taxation is frustrating rice processing and transportation business in the state.
Alhaji Musa Arab, a rice processor in Gombe, said collection of taxes by different tiers of government within the state had impacted negatively on rice processing.
Arab said the practice was affecting the ease of doing business in the state, “because the local and the state governments’ officials collect taxes from various points besides the union dues which we also pay”.
“We are not against taxation because it is the tool for sourcing revenue to develop the state but it should be done in a way that will not affect businesses or discourage businessmen.
“This is partly the reason for increase in food prices because whether you like it or not, these increased and multiple taxes would be borne by consumers.”
Ibrahim, another rice processor from Nassarawo Industrial Layout, said they usually paid a single tax of N1,000 per truckload of processed rice but now, “we pay per bag and which is now higher”.
Ibrahim said the taxes were now multiple as the local and state governments now collected taxes and sometimes “we don’t know who is genuine and who is not”.
“This is affecting businesses and prices and since we are in business to make profit, we transfer the taxes to consumers and that’s partly why you have higher prices of agricultural produce.”
Usman Babayo, a rice transporter at Gombe Main Market, said he had been experiencing multiple taxation while transporting rice paddies from different villages to Gombe Main Market.
Babayo said the multiple taxes had become frequent and “sometimes we have to argue with some of the tax collectors because we don’t know who is collecting the tax”.
On his part, Hassan Hassan, a truck driver who transports rice paddies to rice processors in Gombe, commended the state government for massively constructing roads which had made it easy for vehicles to convey goods from various rural communities.
Hassan appealed to the government to work towards harmonising the taxes, “so that we can know who, where and when we are paying our taxes.”
Contacted, Mr Salihu Alkali, the Executive Chairman of the Gombe Internal Revenue Service (GIRS), referred a NAN Correspondent to Mr Faruk Muazu, the Head of Communication, GIRS.
Muazu promised to get back but was yet to as at the time of filing this report.