The Ijegun-Egba Tank Farm 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, Eshiet Eshiet in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos, warned the government not to shut down operations of the tank farms because of the dire social and economic implications.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 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 tank farms 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 tank farm operators in bad light.
He said the tank farm operators were paying several taxes to the Lagos State Government through its agencies such as Lagos State Signage and 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 Licence 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 tank farm 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 were 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 tank farm 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 shut down or closure of tank farms will result in 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 supply chain, ” he said.