The Kogi State Government has contracted a consultant to levy every bread baked, with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The state chapter of the Association of Master bakers and Caterers of Nigeria disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the levy was to improve the internally-generated revenue of the state.
The association revealed that the bakers are against the levy.
An executive member of the association, simply identified as Godfirst, said the association will meet with the consultant, noting that they received a memo from the ministry imposing a levy “on each loaf of bread” produced.
He said: “The letter was sent to us that a consultant has been given the job to generate fund from bakery to state government.
“We are trying to meet with the consultant, but we have not been able to meet with him.
“We want to meet with him to give us more explanation.
“We are not happy about it. Presently, there is no market, people are no buying like before. We are facing different types of challenges, and if they are now asking us to pay another tax, we don’t know how we can cope.”
Reacting to the development, the state Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement titled: “The Facts About The Bakery Levies,” explained that the levy was imposed in order to protect indigenous bakers from those who bring bread to the state without paying any form of levy.
Fanwo said: “The recent letter was one of our strategies at protecting our Indigenous bakers and also protect our economy from the activities of bakers outside the State who bring their bread to the State without paying any form of levy.
“No responsible government will sit by and watch her indigenous businesses lose the local market.
“Our indigenous bakers have complained bitterly about the activities of external bakers who packed their bread to the state in trucks and sell without paying anything to the state government.
“Poor sales by our bakers may lead to job losses, a situation we are determined to use legitimate means to avert.
“We assure the Master Bakers of our open-door policy and our readiness to keep listening to them in order to smoothen relationships and factors aiding their production as bread consumers have nothing to fear.”