Oil marketers operating Ijegun-Egba Tank Farms have debunked the claim by the Lagos State government that its members are not paying tax and that the association has contributed largely to the deteriorating situation of infrastructure facilities at Ijegun.
The operators have therefore appealed to the state against the planned closure of their tank farms, stressing that the development would have dire economic consequences for the nation’s economy.
According to the secretary of the association, Eshiet E. Eshiet, who expressed the association’s displeasure at the accusations, said it was not true its members have destroyed infrastructural facilities within their operational areas.
He said all its members were duly licensed and authorised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to operate petroleum storage facilities (tank farms) at Ijegun and have all requisite permits, licences from all appropriate agencies of government to construct, own and operate tank farms as well as engage in oil marketing and petroleum product distribution operations.
“Regarding the regularisation of our members’ drawings with the Lagos State government, let it be on record that in 2014, our members through the association applied for regularisation.
“The government, at the time, was not keen at regularising same. Recently, when the government asked our members to submit documentation for regularisation, all our members complied. But to our greatest shock, each company is arbitrarily charged approximately N300 million. With the present global economic outlook, this is outrageous and a big strain on our members,” he said.
The threat of closing down the tank farm if carried out by the government would cause energy insecurity, massive unemployment, banking and financial crisis in the country.
He revealed that scarcity of petroleum products and long queues with attendant impacts on businesses, movements and safety would resurface in response to the cut in the supply chain.
According to Eshiet, “Taking cognisance of the current bleak global economic outlook, occasioned by the pandemic that has brought economic activities to a very low level, with countries across the world focusing on measures to revitalise businesses, through injecting finances and funds to stimulate business activities, stimulate national economic growth, industrial and business development and advancement, it will be counterproductive to shut down or close the tank farms at Ijegun or at any place.”
He punctured recent claims of the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Idris Salako, that his members were operating illegally and do not pay any taxes, charges or fees to the state government.
He explained that the cluster his members occupy was a wetland of which rigorous sand filling and shoreline protection were undertaken at great cost, thereafter pilling in line with best practices to sustain the structures.
The association, he said, has expended over N2 billion in tackling some pressing infrastructural deficits and challenges within its corridor of operations.