The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed off four filling stations in Anambra for conducting their businesses without up-to-date operating licenses.
Mr Okiemute Akpomudjere, Operations Controller, Awka office of the DPR, disclosed this in an interview with our reporter in Awka on Friday.
Akpomudjere said that apart from being a requirement of the law to have a valid operating license, the marketers would also have the advantage of enjoying all privileges of business entities, including claims in the event of accident.
He said the Department had met with Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Lubricant and Engine Oil Association, LPG Retailers Association and the National Association of LPG Marketers, to inform them on the license drive going on in the state.
According to him, we have observed that most marketers do not have current licenses, which means that their operating licenses are not current, but they are required by DPR regulations have a valid license to operate.
“So we have engagements with all the stakeholders, including petroleum marketers, gas dealers and lubricant dealers and informed them on the need to regularise their operations by renewing their license and avert being shut down.
“This week alone, we shut down five filling stations belonging to major marketers: we chose to begin with the big ones so that the smaller ones will have an idea of what will come to them, because we are embarking on an aggressive license drive.
“In the course of our interface, they told us that a major challenge they are facing is the issue of tax clearance from the Tax Office and that is essentially because their books are not up-to-date, so we have told them to keep a good accounting system and sort it out because that is not an excuse,” he said.
Akpomudjere said the DPR would be stringent in enforcing that marketers use the right metering to avoid taking undue advantage of their customers.
“DPR is working to ensure that there is right dispensing of products, while marketers now have the right to fix prices, they don’t have the right to under-dispense or shortchange customers.
“We want to sound a note of warning to marketers to ensure that they dispense the right volumes and make sure that Nigerians have value for their money.
“Our teams are in the field to make sure that the meters are correct, we are determined to protect unsuspecting Nigerians,” he said.
Responding to the non-renewal of members’ operating licenses, Mr Chinedu Anyaso, Chairman, IPMAN, Enugu Depot, said the association had been encouraging members to update.
Anyaso, whose chapter covers Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu, said the members’ challenge was the problem obtaining tax clearance from the Tax Office, due to outrageous billing.
He alleged that they were taxed according to the volume of business and not in terms of profit.
According to Anyaso, our business involves a lot of capital so when our members go to pay and get clearance, they are asked to pay up to N2 million and N5 million but we don’t make that type of profit.
“IPMAN is setting up a committee to discuss the matter with the Revenue Service, the tax had to be realistic, so that we can pay and get our operation licenses renewed,” he said.