The Rivers state commissioner of Agriculture has debunked allegations that the Ministry is demanding revenue from truck drivers operating in the state.
The state commissioner for Agriculture Charles Nwaorgu at a press briefing in Port Harcourt clarified that the only revenue the ministry is authorized to collect is Agro produce dues as approved by the state and Federal government
He said ‘’I called you here to let you know that the Rivers state government have authorized agents who collects approved fees for the government as required by law, recall that in the past four years we did not collect any revenue but you have to understand that government have a responsibilities to the people and part of ways for government to meet and fulfill its mandate and obligation to the people is to generate revenues which is called internally generated revenues IGR such fees as AGRO PROUDUCE FEES are collected and paid directly into state government coffers, none of us here in the Ministry have any access to such funds’
Dr Charles said we do not want hoodlums to harass traders, the fees which the ministry collects through our authorized agents are forestry, agro produce fees, cattle markets, abattoirs/slaughters and meat inspection fees.
The state commissioner for Agriculture Charles called on traders to always contact the ministry for revenue clarification and threatened to deal with hoodlums who are extorting money from the public under the guise of Ministry of Agriculture. He said we do not tolerate touting, because we did not collect this revenue for three to four years, we were receiving reports trucks bringing food products to rivers state being beaten, windscreen smashed, traders being attacked and sometimes their monies get missing so it became a problem to Rivers state government and the nation at large, then the federal government promptly intervened by calling a meeting of stake holders, of which Trade unions and NAPIMS were duly attended and a decision reach and agreed that Agro produce fees should no longer be collected on the Highways, or the control post mounted at various states; it was agreed that the fees should be collected at the point of loading and offloading. So what we collect here close to the market is the point of offloading. The intention is not to embarrass traders but you know that at timed when you give people opportunity to carry out certain assignment they will embarrass the government, if we discover that any of our agents are embarrass people we would relieve him of such duty.
We have not sent anybody to collect any other kind of fees for the government other than the ones mentioned above.