The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) on Thursday inaugurated five committees for the implementation of the National Transit Insurance Scheme (NATIS) and National Anti-Multiple Taxation Scheme (NAMTAXS) to reduce high cost of food, due to haulage problem in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mrs Folashade Joseph, The Managing Director of NAIC, noted that over the years, the challenges of insecurity, poor state of roads and the compromising activities of some transporters and freighters, had impacted negatively on the safety and ease of transportation of goods from one place to another.
Represented by the Director of Operations, Mr Bashir Babalola, the NAIC chief executive said that as a result, many lives had been lost, health had been compromised and businesses had failed, adding that the scheme would, therefore, provide mandatory protection for all goods in transit nationwide in the form of insurance.
She reiterated NAIC’s commitment to the NAMTAX by providing indemnification against hazards which may lead to hospitalization, injury or even death in the course of its enforcement.
“We want to assure you that NAIC is committed to the success of the two schemes, NATIS and NAMTAX and ready to work with all parties involved.”
She stressed that successful implementation of the scheme would require support of government at all levels, particularly Ministries, Department and Agencies, including the armed forces, the Nigerian police and all other security agencies.
Joseph urged all stakeholders to regard the tasks as a national assignment undertaken in the best interest of the country’s economy.
Also speaking, Mr Salawu Ozigi, Director of Finance and Accounts, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) concurred that the problem of transporting products, materials and equipment, especially agricultural products, from one point to the other, was part of the challenges contributing to the high cost of food in the country.
“It will shock you that the prices of food commodities we have today has been grossly high because of some of the malpractices in the haulage of the items from the point of production to the market, and markets and parks are the sole responsibility of local governments in the country’’, he said.
He welcomed the NATIS and NAMTAX as likely to force down the prices of food commodities so that it can be affordable, saying that between Calabar and Sokoto there were 96 check points where people have to pay and this would be calculated into the prices of the goods.
“Therefore, we need to consider this to mitigate the risk for transporters of Agricultural commodities as well bring down the prices of goods for every Nigerian,’’ he said.
Mr Kingley Chikezie of the National Association of Agricultural Product Dealers (NAAPD) disclosed that they had worked tirelessly to bring in ALGON into the picture to sign an MoU on July 24, saying that critical stakeholders in transportation would be gazetting the policy.
He said it would be the mandate of the implementation committee to make sure that multiple taxes along the Nigerian highways were eradicated and NAAPD had put in place a monitoring and compliance team working with the police to achieve the committee’s mandate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the implementation committee of the NATIS and NAMTAX is made up of five sub committees on welfare, Labour, media, finance and security. (NAN).