Persons with Disabilities, PwDs, in Kogi State, participating in the ongoing Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project have decried high tax they paid to access funds meant for the execution of the project.
The Chairman, Cluster farms, one of the components of the project, Mr Daniel Arome Ibrahim,disclosed this in an interview with the Correspondent of The Reporters in Lokoja on Friday.
APPEALS is $200 million project developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders involving six states: Kogi,Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Lagos and Enugu.
Ibrahim,who is also the chairman of PWDs in the state, said that the cluster farms; poultry and aquaculture, involved 102 PwDs, adding that each of the participants paid between N117,000 and N150,000 as tax out of N2.17 million each of them to access to enable them set up their farm business.
He called on the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, KGIRS, to take a second look at the rate of such tax, with a view to reviewing down ward to ease the participants of the financial burden of executing the project.
The chairman also expressed concern over the negative impact of inflation and COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the effects on the high cost of materials participants purchased for the project.
The chairman of the cluster farms, however, disclosed that work on the project had reached 90 per cent completion.
“Prices of the materials we need, such as feeds and fingerlings among others, have skyrocketed because of the the rate of inflation in the country,” he noted.
He said the worry of the participants became apparent,realising the fact that, the project had not got to the level where participants could begin to recoup their investment.
Another beneficiary, Mr Megbehingbe Albert Olumide, stressed the need to reduce the exorbitant rate of tax to enable participants have money to maintain and expand their business.
Ibrahim suggested that participants identified as having successfully implemented their project and paid should have their bank account bearing the name of the company they used for the project released.
He commended APPEALS in the state for the release of additional N10 million to the cluster farms to carry out other projects apart from the initial ones, to ensure the success of the project.
APPEALS is aimed at supporting the transition of small subsistence farmers’ production system(farming 1-5 ha) to a market-oriented agricultural undertaking.
The project,which is expected to end in 2023, is also meant to support middle size farmers(5-10 ha) to address constraints facing them and enhancing their productivity as well as ensuring their effective participation in the Value Chains.