From Kolade Larewaju
THE Lagos/Ogun arm of the  Cocoa Association of Nigeria has rejected new grading and allied levies fixed on Cocoa by the Ogun State Government saying that it has banned all cocoa buyers and its members from paying the new levies.

The Department of Produce Services in the Ogun State Ministry of agriculture had in a letter dated 2nd September, 2011 reviewed grading and allied levies for cocoa and put Inspection fee at N1,300, Grading; N2,000 and Produce Trust Fund; N1,000 among others. The effective date was put at 1st October, 2010.

But the Cocoa Association in a letter dated 8th October, 2010 said that all the cocoa producing state were yet to implement the new tariff and asked for urgent action from the Ministry “to rescue the cocoa buyers that could not   carry out  their business for now”.

While pursuing efforts to make government rescind its decision, the Association in a Communiqué issued after its weekend meeting said that it has barred all its members from trading in cocoa saying “government action on increment of Cocoa levies is an act that is capable of killing the sector because the high taxes and levies imposed have discouraged cocoa dealers from neighboring states coming to Ogun”

The Association said that it was rejecting the new levies because it was not carried along while formulating the policy and that the Produce Department collecting the levies was not monitoring quality of cocoa at the farm gate. Moreover, the Association in the Communiqué signed by its Secretary; Alhaji Najeem Olomide said it has been denied Commodity Development Fund which it said was meant to provide some relief for the farmers.


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