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Nigeria Cannot Bear The Implication of Shutting Down Petroleum Tankfarms –Owners

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… Decries N300Million Arbitrary Charges By State Govt
… Says It Has Spent Over N2Billion On Infrastructure

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
Ijegun-Egba Tankfarm owners and operators association has warned of the implications of shutting down the Tankfarms at Ijegun or any place.

“Any shut down or closure of Tankfarms will result in national economic crisis, energy insecurity, massive unemployment, banking and financial crisis and the shock in the banking sector will adversely affects other business and commercial activities.These might be difficult for the Nation to bear,” The body said in a statement by it’s secretariat, Barr Eshiet E. Eshiet.

“Taking cognizance 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 revitalize businesses, through injecting finances and funds to stimulate business activities, stimulate national economic growth, industrial and business development and advancement, it will be counter productive to shut down or close the Tankfarms at Ijegun or at any place.

“With the threat to shut down or close Tankfarms we wish to state that our national economy and energy supply, marketing and distribution of petroleum products across the country will be adversely affected, with a resultant unprecedented negative impact on energy security. Scarcity of petroleum products and long queues with attendant impacts on business, movements and safety will resurface in response to the cut in supply chain,” he added.

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The group said it was reacting to a statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Hon Idris Salako (Dr) at a Stakeholders Meeting on Friday 20th September 2020 regarding the operations of Tankfarms in Lagos State.

According to the group, Salako alleged that it’s members were operating illegally in Lagos State and that it’s members do not pay any taxes, charges or fees to the Lagos State Government.

They noted that the commissioner further alleged that its members have, by their operations destroyed infrastructural facilities within their operational areas.

Worried that Salako threatened to immediately shut down Tankfarms, the association lamented that the statements have painted the operators of Tankfarms in very bad light, hence the need to make some clarifications in respect of it’s members operations.

Contrary to Salako claims, the body explained: “The Tankfarm operations have contributed immensely to National economy by way of revenue through taxes, levies and charges to the Federal and State governments, as well as the local governments where the storage facilities are located.

“Regarding payments to Lagos State Government, we wish to state that our members pay the following taxes, charges and fees to: Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Government-PAYEE, Lagos State Government Development Levy, Radio and Television License Fees- Local Government, Land Use Charge,
Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

“From the above mentioned payments, it very sad and embarrassing for the Hon Commissioner to publicly
say that the Tankfarms do not pay taxes, charges and fees to the Lagos State Government.”

On legality of it’s members, it noted: “We wish to categorically state that, contrary to the Hon Idris Salako’s statement, all our members are duly licensed and authorized by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to operate Petroleum Storage Facilities (Tankfarms) at Ijegun and have all requisite Permits, Licenses from all appropriate Agencies of government to construct, own and operate Tankfarms, as well as engage in oil marketing and petroleum product distribution operations.

“Our member companies have their facilities mostly on the shoreline of the Ojo Creek Channel, with a considerable distance to community houses and were granted title by the Land registry, Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing to use same for industrial and/or commercial purposes.

“The cluster our 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 thereon.

“Regarding the regularization of our members’ drawings with the Lagos State Government, let it be on record that in 2014, our members through the Association applied for regularization.

“The government, at the time, was not keen at regularizing same. Recently, when the Government asked our members to submit documentations for regularization, all our members complied. But to our greatest shock, each company is arbitrarily charged approximately N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira).”

It added: “All our members are committed to conducting their business operations in line with best practices, strict adherence to safety rules and regulations, improving the state of infrastructure within our corridor, safeguard life and property, protect and preserve the environment as well as maintaining a good business
environment.

“The environmental outlook and challenges were apparent on our members’ entry into the Ijegun Shoreline to develop their respective facilities. The area was a wetland, without access roads.

“Further to our members’ commitment to improve the environment, safety and infrastructural deficits within the Tankfarm cluster and environ, the Association has undertaken several collective projects and actions with a view to addressing some of the infrastructural deficits.

“As credible and responsible
business owners who place high premium on life, safety and environment, the Association has since 2013 been responsible for the maintenance, rehabilitation of Marwa Road and sections of Old Ojo Road, the reconstruction of Pioneer Road and others roads within our operational environment.

“These are just a few of the interventions that the Association and member companies have undertaken to address the infrastructural deficits and environmental challenges within the Ijegun axis.

“It is of interest to note that the Tankfarms at Ijegun have individually and collectively, as an Association, expended over ₦2 Billion in tackling some pressing infrastructural deficits and challenges within our corridor of operations.”

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