Delta petroleum dealers threaten to shut down in seven days over ‘outrageous’ levies

Fuel crisis looms as members of the Petroleum Dealers Association, Delta State chapter, have threatened to shut down all filling stations across the state latest seven days from Thursday.

The association, which made the threat, on Thursday, said the move was necessary to put a stop to what they described as outrageous levies by state government’s agencies.

Rising from an emergency meeting held in Warri, the association said if the state Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, did not call all parties involved in the matter to a roundtable within the next seven days, they would be forced to shut down all their retail outlets in the state.

Secretary of the association, Comrade Francis Agetue, who spoke to journalists shortly after the meeting, said issues of irregular demand notices, double taxations and outrageous bills, mostly from the Delta State Waste Management Board and committees, have been draining their purses.

Armed with documents to back his claims, he said the association was no longer comfortable with all the outrageous demand notices being served to their members ceaselessly.

He added that some of their members had also been dragged to mobile courts in the course of forcefully drawing the outrageous levies from them.

Speaking further, Comrade Agetue said: “The worst of them all is the one from the Delta State Waste Management Board who is giving out demand notices ranging from N200, 000 to N500, 000 to both independent and major marketers across the state.

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“We are so aggrieved and that is why, as I am here now, we are calling on all the filling stations in the state to shutdown
all their outlets, all their stations, if they do not stop embarrassing and harassing our members.

“We have been having meetings with internal revenue board for a harmonised tax payment whereby we have to pay to one account for Delta State collectively so that government will be able to access that account and the funds.

“This is why we are calling on all both IPMAN and the independent marketers that within a fortnight, we are going to shut down all the filling stations in the state.

“And until the governor calls and address the issue and we know where we stand, whom we are paying money to and what we are paying for, we may remain closed.

“This is the first time we are going to do it and we are going to stand by it. There is no going back on this.

“We have one demand notice here from the Delta State Waste Management Board that says we should pay the N500,000 as fine for ‘discharge of waste/liquid into the stream, rivers, creeks, lakes, drainage, streets and no sanitary waste bin with a tight-fitting cover.’

“It’s embarrassing. Which dealer is going to come out and tell you that he is making a net profit of N500, 000 a year? Let that person come out and tell us,” he queried.

Meanwhile, reacting to the N500,000 fine, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Delta State Waste Management Board, simply identified as Mrs Kuejubola, said she could not ascertain if the fine was actually from the board through a Demand Notice or a letter.

According if the fine is through a Demand Notice from the board, the petroleum dealers still have seven days to approach the board for renegotiation.

“Normally we do fine people for waste pollution. But I can’t ascertain if the board fined them, because it’s not from the headquarters in Asaba. Maybe it’s from our members in Warri South zone.

“A lot of people are engaged in illegalities in Warri axis.

“I can’t tell you it’s from us. They should go to the office to find out why they’re fining them and if it’s a demand notice or a letter from us,” Mrs Kuejubola who contacted her boss before responding on phone, noted.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Delta petroleum dealers

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