Chijindu Emeruwa, Abia.
The Eastern Zonal Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Prince Bobby Eberechi Dick, has lamented at the agony the petroleum Marketers are passing through in port Harcourt zone.
The zone comprised of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Rivers Kogi and Nasarawa states, which their NNPC loading are Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Markurdi and Ports Harcourt depot.
The Eastern chairman also regretted that non of these loading depots are working at the moment, as the NNPC is the sole importer of the petroleum products to Nigeria.
Prince Dick who made the feelings of the petroleum marketers known in a press statement issued to newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday.
Continuing, he said the depots has over 3000 marketers registered in each depot with NNPC, regretting also that instead of their products being pumped to these depots, they now sell products to middle men in the name of private tank farm owners, who now decides how much they will sell to independent marketers without taking cognizance of the government regulated price.
According to Dick, “the department of petroleum resources now Nigeria Midstream and Downstream sector, watch vulnerably what these shylock private tank farm owners are doing. But instead it is the ordinary independent Petroleum marketer that will enforce to sell at a regulated price. Because we don’t have a Godfather or Godmother we are left to the whims and caprices of NNPC.
Dick further frowned at the deplorable condition of roads in the eastern zone and lamented that all major roads in the zone are impassable and have caused huge economic loss to petroleum marketers.
“Calabar to Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt to Aba, Port Harcourt to Imo state. More worrisome is the fact that the very roads leading to NNPC depots, especially in the eastern zone, appear to be the worst hit. Every day our trucks keep falling on these roads, we keep losing our borrowed funds from banks who as a result, dispose of our properties(being the collateral to secure such loans), leaving our families homeless and traumatized”, the chairman added.
Continuing, the IPMAN chairman regretted also that the astronomical rise in the price of diesel is gradually running independent marketers out of his business, as transporting petroleum products from the private depots to the stations had become very herculean.
“Also power outstations have become strangulating. For instance, we use a minimum of 50 liters of diesel per day at a cost of about N40,000.00, yet we are forced to sell at a regulated price”, Dick stressed.
He further revealed that the security agencies have abandoned their official duties and focused attention on the independent petroleum marketers, frowning also the multiple and duplicated taxation coupled with draconian revenue regimes of different states and local governments that continue to compound the woes and agony of the marketers.
The IPMAN Eastern Chairman, therefore, appealed to the federal government to resuscitate all the NNPC depots in the Port Harcourt zone (System 2E) and asked the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to regulate prices at the private tank farms, to enable the the the petroleum marketers to sell at the regulated price.
He also appealed to the government under the NNPC Road maintenance scheme to rehabilitate all the roads mentioned above, to halt losses of products by the independent petroleum marketers.
“The security agencies should focus on their rules of engagement and live DPR to do their work.
“The state government and local government should please reduce the various taxes considering the agony of independent petroleum marketers.
“NNPC because our competitors are being sponsored by NNPC and we the Independent Marketers must pay cash before we buy from their shylock, middlemen, they should make PMS & AGO available to Independent Marketers in our various depots so we can get directly from NNPC at a good price. They should look for a way to ameliorate the sufferings of independent petroleum marketers and indeed Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine,” Prince Dick submitted.