Prices of food stuffs and meat may soon skyrocket if the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers (AUFCD) goes ahead with its threat to embark on a nationwide strike following what it described as excess tax and harassments.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, national president of the Union, Mohammed Tahir Ibrahim, said the harassment and an excess taxation usually leads to extra cost of foodstuff which is then passed to the consumer.
“The extortion of members of our union has had negative effect on the price of foodstuff and beef. For the purpose of illustration, the multiple taxes regime adds over one hundred per cent cost on the ordinary prices of foodstuff and Cattle.
“The multiple taxations for truckload of cattle often amount about N450,000 which is higher than the transportation cost of N330,000. Similarly, the charges on truckload of foodstuff are about N226,000.
“We will give the government one or two months to see the effect of the IG’s directive but if nothing is done we are going to embark on nationwide strike,” he said.
According to him, the Union had in January informed President Muhammadu Buhari on the plight of the members of the union.
Ibrahim further said the president assured the union that he would take action on the multiple taxation.
“We have also met with the Inspector General of Police and he sent signals to all AIGs from zone 1 to 12, but the problem is basically with Zone 6, zone 9, zone 3, zone 4. We don’t have problem in Adamawa which is the loading point but from there to down South-south and South East on this issue. Despite the IG’s signal nothing has been done about it. We have also written letters to ministers of labour and agriculture as well as the director of SSS.
“The only solution now is to withdraw our services and embark on nationwide strike. Though the Ministry of Labour and Agriculture invited us and said our nationwide in 2010 affected the nation’s economy so we shouldn’t go with the promise that they will do something. The former minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh even set up a committee to check the multiple taxation but up till now nothing has happened.
“We will give them one or two months to see the effect of the IG’s directive but if nothing is done we are going to embark on nationwide strike,” he stated.
Earlier, secretary of the Union, Ahmed Alaramma said there are over 30 military checkpoints, over 110 police checkpoints while other security agencies mount separate checkpoints in 35 locations.
“All the extra cost of procuring foodstuff and cattle, transporting and settling touts from the points of production and primary market on the way to the urban areas of need is consequently passed on to the final consumers,” Alaramma said.