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NUMTEN to collaborate with other stakeholders to address high cost of food, commodities

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The National Union of Market Traders Employers of Nigeria (NUMTEN) says it will collaborate with other market stakeholders to address the high cost of food and other commodities in Nigeria.

NUMTEN’s national president, James Ogu, said this on Wednesday when the union paid a courtesy visit to the Oyo state commissioner for trade, industry, investment and cooperatives, Demola Ojo, in Ibadan.

According to Mr Ogu, many traders now hide behind the increase in the pump price of petroleum, the high dollar-to-naira exchange rate, and taxes and dues to arbitrarily increase the prices of food and other essential commodities in the market.

Also speaking, NUMTEN’s chairman in Oyo state, Ola Makinde, said that the union would collaborate with relevant government agencies, departments and other critical market stakeholders to establish a centre in each zone, where issues could be reported and properly addressed.

According to him, part of the aims and objectives of the NUMTEN is to defend the integrity and independence of the market traders in Nigeria by putting an end to the activities of unregistered associations or groups exploiting traders in Nigeria.

“We are working to ensure cooperation between the union and other market bodies, to maintain the highest standard, etiquette and discipline among market traders,” he said.

On his part, the Oyo state secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Adebayo Aribatise, said that NLC, as mother of all unions in Nigeria, recognised NUMTEN and was in solidarity with its activities across markets in Nigeria.

Mr Aribatise said that NLC in the state had the mandate of ensuring that all unions that want to operate in the state comply with the rules and regulations laid down by the state government to achieve its goals.

In his response, Mr Ojo said that the current administration would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to improve the ease of doing business in the state.

Mr Ojo, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Bunmi Babalola, said that Gov. Seyi Makinde’s administration had addressed the issue of tax multiplicity on food commodities and improved access to cheaper food through various initiatives.

He said that the government had identified and was working with 12 market clusters that housed different traders’ associations in the state to achieve harmony among traders.

The commissioner, while charging NUMTEN to carry out membership drive through provision of adequate welfare initiatives, said that the government would not impose one association or union on another.

He said that the government was ready to partner with NUMTEN and other market bodies to address the high cost of food commodities and to improve the ease of doing business in the state.

(NAN)

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