BY NDAHI MARAMA, MAIDUGURI
THE Borno Emirate Concerned Citizens Forum (BECCF) on Thursday called on governor Babagana Umara Zulum to reverse the State Government Policies in harassing petty traders on outright displacement from their business points and increase in tax which made it difficult for marketers not to increase the prices of their commodities.
The Forum also called on security agencies to provide adequate security on highways, and desist from extorting money from commuters which in turn, led to marketers and commuters shift the burden to their customers.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of BECCF, Zanna Hassan Boguma on the need to avoid price hike and subsequently reduce prices of commodities during the Holy Month of Ramadan held at NUJ press centre, Maiduguri.
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He said, in recent week, the forum has engaged the leadership of marketers and traders union to plead with them on the recurring incessant hike in prices of essential commodities, unfortunately, during their engagements, the unions attributed price hike ‘to the unwarranted imposition of taxes by the state government, demolitions and displacement from their abort as well as unlawful extortion of commuters by security agencies as the basis of the hike’.
His words: We want to start by commending the State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum for his support to our marketers/traders, especially disbursement of soft loans boost their business horizon in the state. Unfortunately, some leaders of the trader’s unions alleged that most of these soft loans went to the wrong hands.
“BECCF is hereby calling on governor Babagana Umara Zulum to reverse the State Government Policies in harassing petty traders, outright displacement of petty traders from their business points and increase in tax which made it difficult for marketers not to increase the prices of their commodities.
“The Forum also called on security agencies to provide adequate security on highways, and desist from extorting money from commuters which in turn, led to marketers and commuters shift the burden to their customers.
“We met with the leadership of various assorted food items dealers/traders with a view to reason not to hike the price of their commodities, especially during this month of Ramadan Fasting.
“However, the traders after reasoning with our requests raised a lot of concerns on the plight of their marketers regarding taxes and risks involved in the highways.
“The forum observed with dismay while appreciating the huge sacrifices made by marketers in making available daily needs of our people to avoid hunger in the state.
“The forum further observed that there are bad eggs among the membership of the marketers, however, they need constant support from the government of the day. This is due to the harsh business environment and economic woes in Borno State.
“Furthermore, we are appealing to the traders to desist from hoarding during this Holy month, and also to the State Government to relax the existing curfew to enable Muslim faithful do their ibadat, provided that it cannot pose a security threat.
“The forum wants to seize this opportunity to call on the leadership of this country to protect lives and properties of the people, especially, the recent escalation of security in Damasak which is quite disappointing.” Zanna Boguma stated.
Reacting to the statement, the Senior Special Assistant Media to the Governor, Comrade Baba Sheikh Haruna said, the Empowerment Programme of the Governor where all stakeholders were directly involved with traders is meant to boost their businesses, considering the security situation which has affected the economy of the state. While the issue of tax is a constitutional and lawful obligation of any responsive government.
He noted that, with the dwindling Federal Statutory Allocations accrued to the state that has been affected by over a decade Boko Haram crisis, revenue generation would further assist Government meet up with its enormous responsibilities of providing basic necessities of life in the state.
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