Eben Enasco Reporting

Edo State House of Assembly, Tuesday, resumed plenary with the consideration of a Bill for a law to establish a single haulage fee on agricultural farm produce.

The bill considered an executive bill was the first in its priority to be addressed after the 2023 general elections of Political gameistry that left many of its members stranded in their Constituents.

The presentation of the bill was done by the majority leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Henry Okhuarobo represents the Ikpoba Okha constituency.

In his bid to convince other members, Honorable Okhuarobo argued that the Bill critically supports the uniformity in the charges on farm produce.

He charged his colleagues to consider his argument on the positivity of the bill for onward passage.

Hon Emmanuel Okoduwa, Hon Nosayaba Okunbor, and Rt. Hon Roland Asoro unanimously pledged their support for the Bill.

The lawmakers stressed that while it provides a legal framework for the smooth administration of taxes, it will also shore up revenue for the State as well as provide job employment for the unemployed.

On the benefits of the Bill, they further stated that it will create a single fee for goods and agricultural produce, noting that it would also plug some of the identified leakages in the collection of fees.

Speaker, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, however, directed the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Audu Omogbai to slate the Bill for a later date.

On Wednesday, Plenary resumed with the continuation of the Executive Bill for a law to establish a single haulage fee on agricultural farm produce topping the day.

The House was dissolved into the committee of the WHOLE and procedure on the bill took center stage.

Emmanuel Agbaje, representing Akoko Edo Constituency Two, in the 7th Assembly, drew the attention of the House to carefully observe a section of the Bill that he perceived was designed to strangulate the people through prices of commodity hikes in Edo State.

He classified the content of the haulage bill to Degrade and NON-Degrade farm Produce fee.

While noting that there are factors such as insecurity and other related Challenges that have bedeviled Agricultural Produce to be considered before the passage to have a people-oriented bill, he conjured his colleagues to support his arguments.

He cited undue pressure that may further escalate the prices of commodities in the open markets if farmers are subjected to pay tax by implication of a section of the bill on haulage of their farm produce.

The lawmaker said outside the fault spotted in tax imposition of the bill on the commonly consumed farm produce, he expects the Executive bill to only captured Taxes on degraded goods, such as cocoa and other related products.

Agbaje’s call to delete the tax bill that will impose taxes on poor farmers amidst economic hardship when passed on Commonly consumed goods, or Non-Degrade, such as tomatoes, vegetables, and okra in the section of the bill, did not receive support amongst colleagues as his lone voice was left in the wilderness and his arguments thrown to the dustbin.


Although the bill has many positive effects as it reduces many risks in farming, it also has significant costs.

You see, as is being done in many of the developed nations, farmers are exempted from all forms of taxation.

Agriculture has changed dramatically since the end of World War II.

Food and fiber productivity has soared due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization, and government policies that favored maximizing production and reducing food prices in most advanced nations.

These changes have allowed fewer farmers to produce more food and fiber at lower prices.

Farming in Nigeria is tedious and stressful, and farmers are bound to face challenges in various forms.

These factors including the suspected Fulani invasion of farms have reduced food sufficiency.

Most farmers are afraid of going to their farms over insecurity and a further imposition of taxes will worsen the rising prices of commodities.

It is unimaginable that a government that has not been able to provide equipment for mechanized farming is planning on imposing taxes on common farm produce.

Due to these economic pressures on local farmers, many rural communities have become poorer as farms and associated local agricultural enterprises go out of business.

A variety of philosophies, policies, and practices have contributed to these goals in advanced societies, but a few common themes and principles weave through most definitions of sustainable agriculture.

Agricultural sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Therefore, long-term stewardship of both natural and human resources is of equal importance to short-term economic gain.

Economic development policies and tax structures that encourage more diversified government production on exemptions can form a seasoned one for healthier rural economies, not a tax based on revenue collection.

Within the limitations of the market structure, consumers can also play a role; through their purchases, they send strong messages to producers, retailers, and others in the system about what they think is important, including environmental quality and social equity.

Farming is predominant in most parts of Edo state and it would have been expected that stiff resistance is pressed to shuffle the bill by the legislatures.

Therefore, to cushion the effect of problems facing the farmers some governments are giving tax exemptions to genuine and seasonal farmers.

What those responsible for lawmaking in the state should have done, was to consider taxes for degraded farm produce such as timber, and the likes

By interpretation, soon citizens will no longer be able to buy common Farm Produce like tomatoes, okra, vegetable leaves, and others if the intention is allowed to have its way.

The lawmakers turning their eyes off key areas of the bill is suggestive that the people they represent don’t matter to them even as they ended the fourth section of the Seventh Assembly.

That section of the bill for me is anti-people and Edo people must rise to condemn it.

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