Farm produce distributors, under the auspices of Iyanoba Market Distributors Association, on Tuesday decried the multiple levies members paid on the highways while bringing food items from the hinterland to Lagos.
The distributors, who attributed the high cost of commodities to transportation cost and multiple levies on highways, urged the Federal Government to harmonise levies payable by distributors into a single levy and fix bad roads.
The Yam Sector Chairman of the group, Mr Tosin Adegbowale, narrated the high cost of commodities in spite of various government interventions to ensure affordable food, to Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.
Adegbowale said that transporting a lorry load of yam from Lafia in Nassarawa used to cost N110,000 but had increased to N160,000 due to bad roads and various levies in every local government on the way.
“We are subjected to the wishes of transporters and local council agents who see us distributors as prey to sap dry.
“Imagine within a state, one has to pay for every local government that one passes with council agents brandishing different types of receipts and stickers one has to pay for before allowing one to pass with his goods.
“It is a pathetic situation as the distributors do not have any option than to hike the price of commodities to break even in order to remain in business,” he said.
Mrs Tejumola Ashaka, a plantain distributor, said that bringing plantain from Ofosu in Edo to Lagos had become difficult because of unwarranted levies on the highways.
Ashaka said that apart from the Federal Produce Inspectors, distributors had different local council agents to contend with who issued different kinds of council receipts to them for the commodity conveyed to Lagos.
“I have been in this business for 11 years now but the terrain since the last three years has been herculean,” she lamented.
Ashaka said that if government could come up with a single levy, it would go a long way in reducing the prices of commodities in the market and the masses would feel the impact of government intervention.
Mrs Jane Anayo, another yam distributor, said that fixing of roads to places where those commodities were being farmed, to city centres where they were needed should be a priority.
Anayo advised government to provide storage facilities to preserve those perishable commodities to prevent out of season scarcity and its attendant price hike.
Edited by: Razak Owolabi/Donald Ugwuhttps://nnn.ng/farm-produce-distributors-decry-multiple-levies-on-highways/