The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been urged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State to remove multiple taxes and levies placed on food markets to reduce the suffering of the poor in the state.
The call was made by Mr. Hakeem Amode, the PDP Publicity Secretary in Lagos State on Monday. He noted that the taxes on food items have increased the economic burden on the poor.
The concerns of the opposition party partly follow the rising rate of inflation in the country that has affected the prices of food commodities in the markets, amongst other items.
Mr. Amode said the N4.5 billion worth of food consumed daily by residents and the high cost of food items raise concerns among the citizens as the Lagos food market was strictly controlled and taxed.
He said, “The state currently runs a monopolistic food market where free trade is not allowed and those allowed to trade pay different categories of taxes to the markets’ authorities.
“Sadly, many fresh farm products that are mostly displayed on weekends are not exempted from the taxes and levies which have made food prices in the state unaffordable to the common man.
“An individual cannot buy food items in bulk and bring them for sale to consumers in the state without going through the cult-like system the state has put in place and they determine the prices these food items are sold to the detriment of the good people of the state.”
Speaking further he said “A state like Lagos with a purchasing power of N4.5bn daily (according to the governor) is supposed to have the cheapest food market in the federation.
“In a people’s welfare-oriented market structure, where the supplier is guaranteed sales, prices are low.
He noted that “The challenges faced on a daily basis by the commercial truck operators in transporting food items to the state is sickening, not to talk of the harassments and extortions.
“All the road enforcement agencies are after these trucks and to make matters worse, the local government-backed touts also levy them.”
“Consequently, these have adverse effects on the prices individuals pay from their meagre income to feed in the state where food is not supposed to be a problem due to the purchasing power of the people”, Mr. Amode concluded.