Foodstuffs and cattle dealers have called on government at all levels to stop the indiscriminate taxes imposed on them to make their products affordable to Nigerians.
They made the call recently in Enugu at the opening of the Enugu State office of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria.
Amechi Okolie, South-East Coordinator of the union, who spoke on behalf of traders, said they were willing to pay their legitimate taxes.
He said: “Our members are groaning under the burden of double or multiple taxation or levies. Our members engage in legitimate ventures in shops, markets and abattoirs and their operations are levied and taxed by the relevant authorities and receipts issued.
“Curiously, as one crosses state boundaries, the same or more levies and taxes are collected from our members in worrisome ways. Fierce looking thugs use very unconventional means and tools such as cudgels, cutlasses and clubs to harass, intimidate and coerce our members to submission.
“Consequently, the increased and unbudgeted taxes are added to the cost of our products thereby robbing us of profits and making our goods priced above the purchasing power of our customers.’’
The coordinator said that the union contributed in excess of N200 million in taxes to the various governments annually, adding that many youths also earned their living through the activities of the members.