The Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN), Cross River State chapter has explained that the Union threatened to embark on an industrial action over the non-supply of kerosene (DPK) to NNPC Calabar depot.
The association described as unacceptable the non-supply of kerosene to NNPC Calabar depot for over 25 years running even as they bring in millions of the product to private tank farms in Calabar.
Speaking during a courtesy visit on the management of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in Calabar, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Robert Obi, noted that bringing PMS, petrol alone is a bad business for independent marketers.
Obi said marketers in the Calabar depot have gone through hell in the name of sourcing for kerosene to sell, insisting that it is high time they supplied these three products including PMS, DPK and AGO to enable them serve their teeming customers in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states as well as be able to break even.
According to him, marketers are the ones that ensure this product is taken to all nooks and crannies of both states and therefore, they should be given priority in the allocation of these products.
“We are not asking for the millions of litres of kerosene for free. We will pay for it. We are going to set up our IPMAN marine task force. We have mobilised our task force with speed boats made up of two horse power machines to monitor when this product arrives.
“And if all entreaties fail, we have no option than to embark on an indefinite strike to press home our demands and alert the Federal Government of what has been happening in NNPC depot Calabar.”
On the issue of equalisation funds, the Chairman said it was high time their members started benefiting from this transportation arrangement meant to assist marketers.
He said it has become necessary so as to alleviate the sufferings of IPMAN members doing business in the state, adding that marketers can no longer cope, especially marketers lifting product from Calabar to market in Ogoja and Obanliku axis which is more than 100 kilometres.
He regretted that when the Federal Government adjusted the price to N145, IPMAN was not invited to take part in the meeting where the N9 margin was arrived at because of the leadership crisis in the association then.
He lamented that this development has impacted negatively on its members who spend about N250,000 just to transport their product to Northern part of the state without benefiting from the equalisation funds, thereby jacking up total cost of doing oil business.
In his reaction, the Operation Controller of DPR in the state, Philip Awolu, assured IPMAN of its corporation so long as the activities of the association do not go contrary to the laws governing sales and marketing of petroleum product.
Warning that DPR would not fail to deal decisively with any member of the association that errs, he advised IPMAN to document whatever challenges which they are passing through and send to DPR office.
MIKE ABANG, Calabar