The Ijegun-Egba Tankfarm Owners and Operators Association, has faulted the allegations of illegal operations and non-payment of taxes made against its members by the Lagos State Government.
The association’s Secretary, Mr Eshiet Eshiet in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos, warned the government not to shutdown operations of the tankfarms because of the dire social and economic implications.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Dr Idris Salako, had at a recent stakeholders meeting threatened to shut down the petroleum tank farms.
Salako had alleged that the tankfarms were operating illegally in Lagos State and do not pay any taxes, charges or fees to the government.
The commissioner had further accused the tank farm owners of destroying infrastructural facilities within their operational areas.
However, Eshiet while reacting to the development, said the allegations against its members were untrue and had only painted the tankfarm operators in bad light.
He said the tankfarm operators were paying several taxes to the Lagos State Government through its agencies such as Lagos State Signage & Advertisement Agency (LASAA), and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
According to him, the payments also include the Lagos State Government-PAYEE, Lagos State Government Development Levy, Radio and Television License Fees- Local Government and Land Use Charge among others.
Eshiet said other collection agencies were Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
He said the tankfarm operators in Ijegun were duly licensed and authorised by the Department of Petroleum Resources, and had all the appropriate approval from the appropriate agencies to construct petroleum storage facilities and distribution.
Eshiet said :”Our member companies have their facilities mostly on the shoreline of the Ojo Creek Channel, with a considerable distance to community houses.
” They were granted title by the Land registry, Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing to use same for industrial
and/or commercial purposes. “
According to him, in 2014, its members applied for regularisation of its drawings with the Lagos State Government and was recently slammed with an outrageous regularisation fee of N300 million each.
Eshiet said contrary to the claim by the government, the association had undertaken several individual and collective projects and actions with a view to addressing some of the infrastructural deficits.
He said the tankfarm owners in the location contributed 35 per cent of the national distribution of petroleum products and had created about 5, 000 direct and indirect employments, including indigenes of the community.
Eshiet said : “Any shutdown or closure of tankfarms will result in a national economic crisis, energy insecurity, massive unemployment, banking and financial crisis.
” The shock in the banking sector will adversely affect other business and commercial activities. These might be difficult for the nation to bear.
” 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 impact on businesses, movements and safety will resurface in response to the cut in the supply chain, ” he said.