Petrol tax: Lagos, oil marketers crisis imminent

Crisis may ensue between the Lagos State Government and Major Oil Marketers Association on the 3 kobo per litre tax on Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS),  listed as part of the state’s wharf landing fee.

In 2009, the Lagos State House of Assembly had enacted a law that empowered the state government to set up a collecting authority, charged with the responsibility of collecting levy tagged as wharf landing fees on goods transported through any sea port into any local government in the state.

On Monday, the chairman of the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Authority, Joe Igbokwe, stated the intention of the agency to fully implement the law at a stakeholders’ meeting with the captains of industries transacting businesses at the Apapa seaport.

He explained that the financial burden of maintaining and rehabilitating infrastructure like road and other utilities facilitating movements of goods and services from the port is taking a toll on the finances of the state, hence, the need to tax  the business operators.

Igbokwe who lamented the attitude of some companies towards the agency and pleaded for cooperation said that:  “We addressed a press conference on May 26, 2016 to announce our presence. Since we came on board, we have issued 240 invoices to various companies and got 81 responses in terms of payment, representing 34 per cent.

“This is not a good advertisement of what is supposed to be a cordial and symbiotic relationship. The Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee is very clear and we had availed all stakeholders’ copies in the past. It is when appeasement fails that force and coercion become inevitable.”

But in a reaction to the development at a separate interview, the Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Obafemi Olamore, claimed that his association had submitted a protest letter to the agency as regards fee charged on PMS.

“We would obey the state government on taxes on other petroleum products  but not on the PMS.  The PMS is not deregulated.

“What we are saying is that if Lagos State government is insisting on the three kobo per litre charge, it will affect the pump price. Bayelsa State and some other states are already asking for taxes similar to the Lagos  wharf landing fee, where do we go from here? There is fix price of N145 per litre on PMS by the Federal Government.

“Lagos is asking us to add the additional tax to that. Where do they want our members to add the cost? We will comply with other taxes on other deregulated products, but on PMS that is not possible. Please help us to appeal to the government,” Olamore pleaded.