Tuesday, November 17, 2020 4:59 pm
A top official of the Kogi State government is in trouble over his involvement in a controversial tax regime on every loaf of bread in the State. There are fears he may end up as a sacrificial lamb on the issue.
Eager for a better public perception on the matter, government on Tuesday fired a query on Usman Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He was given 24 hours to explain his roles in the matter and why he should not earn a dismissal.
In the query, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola, the State Head of Service said the top official gave out information without clearance from his Commissioner. The query reads in part:
“You may also recall that I called you to my office in the morning of 16 November, 2020 after my attention was drawn to same by an Official of Government, the aim of which was to confirm the truth from you.
“You vehemently denied having anything to do with the viral letter, which has brought so much embarrassment to the Government of Kogi State.”
Then the clincher: “Your action is clearly ultra vires of the Public Service Rules, Section 4 – 030402 (1). (N), and (0) which may lead to your dismissal from the service,” she said.
“This act of serious misconduct is unbecoming of an Officer of your calibre who is expected to be above board in conduct and in the performance of your duties.”
The News reports that the Kogi State government through a Consultant had last week introduced new levies on loafs of bread. The Consultant, Musag Enterprises had written to members of Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, AMBCN, intimating them of the new tax.
The bakers kicked on the matter and it generated public outrage. Kingsley Fanwo, Commissioner for Information and Communication issued a statement confirming the development. But he said the tax was introduced to protect indiginous bakers against the activities it outsiders.
However, Edward Onoja, the State Deputy Governor in another statement denied government’s approval of the scheme. He described it as wicked and embarrassing noting that those involved would be punished.
“For the records, neither the Governor nor the state executive council has imagined or proposed such a devilish tax regime, how much less imposing same on any food or essential commodity, not to mention bread which is a table staple and the basic lifeline of many a household,” the statement read.