The Eastern Zonal chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Prince Bobby Eberechi has decried the sorry state of members of the Porthacourt zone of the association which comprises Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayalsa, Benue, cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Rivers, Kogi and Nassarawa States with NNPC loading depots at Aba, Calabar, Enugu, markurdi and Portharcourt with over 3000 registered marketers.
Prince Eberechi in an interview with our reporters said that:
“None of these depots are working at the moment. NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum products to Nigeria. These depots has over 3000 marketers registered in each depot with NNPC. Instead of these products being pumped to these depots. They now sell these products to middle men in the name of private tank farm owners. Who now decide how much they will sell to independent marketers with out taking cognizance of the govt regulated price”.
He further alleged that the Department of petroleum resources which was supposed to be the Nigerian Regulatory Authority rather supports the activities of these shylock private tank farm owners to the detriment of independent petroleum marketers who they force to sell at regulated prices.”
The Eastern regional Chairman lamented that all the major Roads in Eastern Zone were almost not playable, especially Calabar to Akwa Ibom, Portharcourt to Aba, Portharcourt to Imo State More. He expressed worry that the very roads leading to NNPC Depots especially in the Eastern Zone, appeared to be the worst hit. He said:
“Every day our trucks keep falling on these roads, we keep loosing the funds we borrowed from banks which often leads to forfeiture of the properties which we used as collateral to secure such loan, thereby leaving our families homeless and traumatized.More worrisome is the astronomical rise in price of deisel which is gradgually running Independent Marketers out of business. To transport petroleum products from the private depots to our stations has become very herculean. Also to power our stations has become strangulating. For instance, we use a minimum of 50 litres of diesel per day at a cost of about #40,000.00. Yet we are *FORCED* to sell at a regulated price. This should be looked into”.
Very bitter about the plight of the Members of Porthacourt Zone of IPMAN especially as against their competitors, Prince Bobby Eberechi has this to say
“Our situation is very pathetic. It is very sad that our competitors, the Major Marketers and NNPC retail outlets buy products from NNPC on credit while Independent Petroleum Marketers borrow money from banks with high interest rates to pay cash to NNPC middlemen. NNPC has vehemently refused to pump petroleum products to virtually all their depots. Still we are held at the jugular to sell at regulated price with no consideration as to how much we bought the products.
All the security Agencies, the police, army, civil defence etc, have left their official duties, only to focus attention on Independent Petroleum Marketers. As if that is not enough, Multiple and duplicated taxation coupled with draconian revenue regimes of different States and local govts continue to compound the woes and and agony of Independent Petroleum Marketers”
On behalf of IPMAN, Portharcourt Zone, the Eastern zonal chairmen then appealled thus:
1. The federal government should resuscitate all the NNPC depots in Portharcourt zone (SYSTEM 2E)
2. The DPR (NMDRA) should enforce the regulated price at the private tank farms. Which will now enable us sell at the regulated price.
3. The Fed govt under NNPC Road maintenance scheme should rehabilitate all the roads mentioned above. So we don’t keep lossing our money borrowed from banks.
3. The security Agencies should focus on their rules of engagement and live DPR to do their work.
4. The state government and local government should please reduce the various taxes considering the Agony of independent petroleum marketers.
Finally NNPC considering the fact that 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
From Prince Bobby Eberechi Dick
Eastern Zonal chairman (IPMAN)