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The Ijegun-Egba Tank Farm Owners and Operators has appeal against planned closure of its tank farms by the Lagos state government, stressing that the development would have dire economic consequences for the nation’s economy.

Its Secretary, Barr Eshiet E. Eshiet, conveyed the association’s displeasure on Monday, adding that it would also  cause energy insecurity, massive unemployment, bankingand financial crisis in the country.

He revealed that 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.

According to him: “Taking cognizance of the current bleak global economic outlook, occasioned by the pandemic that hasbrought 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, stimulatenational 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”.

He punctured recent  claims of the   Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Hon Idris Salako (Dr) that his  members are operating illegally and do not pay any taxes, charges or fees to the  state government.

According to him, it was not true  that his members have have destroyed infrastructural facilities within their operational areas.

He said  all  members of the association 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.

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.

He added:”Regarding the regularization of our members’ drawings with the Lagos State Government, let it be onrecord 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). With the present global economic outlook, this is outrageous and a big strain on our members”.

According to him,his association hasexpended over ₦2 billion in tackling some pressing infrastructural deficits and challenges within itscorridor of operations, namely: He said his members 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.

He said his members paid Lagos State Signage & Advertisement Agency (LASAA); Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Government-PAYEE, Lagos State Government Development Levy and  Radio and Television License Fees- Local Government to mention a few.

“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. The Tankfarms are an integral part of petroleum product supply chain in ensuring product supply, energy stability and energy security. Tankfarms have played and will continue to play significant roles in thesupply and distribution of petroleum products across the nation.

“The Tankfarms at Ijegun, SatelliteTown, Lagos play a very pivotal part in petroleum distribution in Nigeria, accounting for 35% national petroleum product distribution. Our members are committed to ensuring efficient petroleum product distribution, and by extension ensuring energy security in line with the federal government’s policies and regulations”, he added.