Bread tax at this period of challenging economic condition, may be a most unwelcome policy by any state government, yet the rumour of introducing one is rife in Kogi State.
It is to the extent that the state governor, Yahaya Bello has risen to the occasion by ordering the Head of Service, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola, to issue queries to those responsible for the controversial bread tax in Confluence State, including the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Usman A. Ibrahim.
A government official in the state had caused a stir November 9, when he facilitated a letter to the Kogi State wing of the Association of Master Bakers and Caters of Nigeria (AMBCN) intimating on an introduction of bread tax.
The matter immediately sent anxiety round town, given the strategic place of bread in the consumption pattern of the people, especially the common man.
He had washed his hands off the so-called policy adding those behind the purported law would soon be unmasked and punished accordingly.
“The incident of bread tax in Kogi State is the most unfortunate infraction that any right-thinking human being would allow to fly… A similar incident happened within this period of COVID-19 where two Permanent Secretaries decided to take the laws into their hands and wrote a letter to worship centres, demanding that fumigation of the worship centres be paid for despite the fact that it was a service that Kogi State rendered free of charge and those Permanent Secretaries have since been dismissed form service.
“The particular incident of bread tax is being looked into as I speak, we are investigating those that are behind this. It is evil and it is unaccepted to say the least.
“I have ordered the Head of Service to issue queries to those that are responsible and they will face the law accordingly. This is a State that never locked down over COVID-19 but our economy was badly hit because all our neighbours; ten States, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) locked down.
“If I didn’t lock down to subject my people to hardship, why should I because of tax or hardship impose additional hardship on them by paying bread tax?
“If there is a way, I can even give tax holiday for some of our businesses, I will do that, not to tax bread. So, the Permanent Secretary concerned is facing disciplinary action and we are going to communicate to the world at the end of the day.
“I never ordered that and I don’t think any senior member of my cabinet will order such,” the governor said..