The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has blamed the continued increase in fuel price, including the one that occurred yesterday, July 18, on the high illegal Levies being imposed on its members by Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD).
“The levy imposed on IPMAN members by tanker drivers had further depleted the little profit left for them to keep their fuel distribution business going, as a truck load of PMS which initially costs them about seven million naira to load but with the subsidy removal, had been pushed to above 23 million naira to load and transport the same product to their various fuel stations and we have been fighting extortion by petroleum tanker drivers for about 10 years now and we have been telling them that this market is based on profit but our pleas had fallen on deaf ears.”
Reacting to the grievances that have trailed the increase of the fuel price following the removal of subsidy in May, and the one of today, the national President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said that they had warned that if Federal Government failed to prevail on the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), to stop the imposition of illegal levies on her members, it might lead to hike in pump price of petrol.
He recalled a meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of IPMAN held recently in Abuja, during when they raised concerns on the implication of the action as well as informing the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) of the act of sabotage being perpetrated by tanker drivers in the distribution of products.
“We want the Federal government and NNPCL to be aware that Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) is allegedly the number one enemy of fuel subsidy removal and deregulation.”
He said that the PTD had allegedly exhibited an act of sabotage on PMS distribution by levying IPMAN members for each truck loaded at the depot.
According to him, the charges are different depending at what depot the marketer is loading.
He accused tanker drivers of extorting different amounts from IPMAN members and in some cases, charging N200,000 which would have stopped with the removal of subsidy.
He said that the only profit an average IPMAN member make is N500,000 on each truck of PMS after making over N23 million and which take days or weeks to sell.
Okoronkwo said that marketers also pay other logistics charges from the meagre profit, like providing fuel for the truck that will carry the product, providing fuel for the engine that will carry light at the stations and so on and at the end of the day, they are left with about N200,000, or slightly above it.