A shortage of cement in Nigeria, particularly in the South West geo-political zone, has been reported. This has arisen due to protesting cement dealers under the auspices of Cement Transporters and Dealers Association of Nigeria (CTDAN) have since last week stopped loading cement from the Ibeshe factory of Dangote Cement.
They are protesting multiple taxation and levies from ministries, department, agencies, local council areas and communities in Ogun State.
According to National President of CTDAN Mr. Olufemi Ola, the members embarked on the strike because of breach of agreement on the part of Ogun State Government and its ministries, agencies and parastatals.
He noted that about four months ago, the state government harmonised the taxes payable by his association to the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Thereafter, the members were given a ‘Harmonised Sticker’ and ‘Consolidated Emblems’, with a promise that once that was paid, they would not be harassed by the government agencies, tax agents, consultants or local councils anymore.
Ola noted that the ministry sent a circular to the Police Commissioner and copied all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPO) that actions should be taken to protect this.
National Treasurer of the association, Lawrence Lagbodu, corroborating the submissions of his president said his group pays over N2.5 million per quarter to the state government as harmonised tax.
However, other ministries, local governments, Bureau of Transport, Ministry of Environment, ‘Park and Garage’, local communities, and tax consultants controlled by the same state refuse to honour the harmonised stickers.
“In fact it is only Ministries of Health and Finance in Ogun State that are not involved in all these.
“All our vehicles have this government sticker. These people say they do not want to know any government sticker.”
“They even threaten us with the same police that should be protecting us. Our vehicles have been vandalised, our people have been brutalised and hospitalised.”
The arguments of the cement dealers were replicated in a circular issued in March by Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ogun State, with Reference No: GS227/227.
It was signed by the Permanent Secretary, T.K. Efuwape and copied to the Commissioner of Police, all Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers in the state.
The circular entitled ‘Recognition of the State Government Accredited Corporate Bodies on Road Levies and Dues’ stated that, “The State Government, as a way of creating conducive environment for investment to thrive, embarked on measures aimed at preventing unauthorised collections and multiple taxations while eradicating touting on our highways.”