Petroleum Marketers In Anambra Threaten To Shut Down Operations Over Multiple Taxes

Disagreements between petroleum marketers in Anambra State and the state government may result in an industrial showdown if the concerns of the former over multiple taxes and levies are not addressed.

The marketers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in a letter to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, dated August 4, 2020, said if their concerns were not addressed within 21 working days, they would shut their operations.

HumAngle learnt that the marketers recently received different demand notices from different government agencies, including Anambra Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) and Anambra State Waste Management Authority (ASWAMA).

Other agencies are Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ASWAMA), Anambra Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment, Fire Service.

Some of the marketers are facing court actions initiated by the agencies.

For example, AIRS is demanding Personal Income Tax ranging from N750, 000 to three million naira on Best of Judgement (BoJ) assessment of income for the period, 2017 to 2020.

The agency served marketers court summons for not obtaining ANSID tax number and failure to pay income tax amounting to 900,000 and N750,000 respectively.

ANSAA on its part through unified invoice/demand notice of Anambra demanded between N20, 000 and N100,000 as billboard/advertisement fees for 2020 on each outlet in the state.

The Environmental Health Department demanded N100, 000 for compulsory decontamination of filling stations for post COVID-19 operations.

A copy of the notice which HumAngle obtained, read: “You are by this demand notice requested to pay the total sum above to Anambra State Government for the placement of an outdoor advertisement/promotions of your products /services within the state.

“Please note that ANSAA Law 2010, stipulates a penalty for refusal to make this payment as (it) is already overdue. You are advised to make payment within seven working days from the date of this notice.

“Your failure/refusal to comply with this notice will be viewed as a direct breach of the ANSAA Law 2010.”

The waste management agency, ASWAMA, is also demanding an annual sanitation fee of N144, 000 from the marketers, who are also to pay N100,000 for compulsory decontamination for post COVID-19 operations to a recognised private fumigator.

But IPMAN said there was a standing agreement between its members in the state and the government that tax and levies payable to the government should be N100, 000 per annum.

The marketers in a joint meeting with Petrol Tanker Drivers said the proliferation of demand notices was unacceptable as it breached the agreement.

Mr Chinedu Anyaso, Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot, said multiple taxes, especially now that the country was coming out of an economic lockdown had the potential of crippling the businesses.

Anyaso said rather than making IPMAN a cash cow, Anambra State should follow the example of other states that had created more favourable environments for businesses to operate through tax holidays or cash credits.

“What we should be talking about is tax free periods and not increase. How can the government be asking us to pay an average of one million naira a year when you combine all these charges? Not now that the economy is down.

“In some states under our depot, we are paying less than N100, 000 so why should they be issuing all these notices without knowing exactly how we are surviving?

“We are willing to allow government manage these outlets for one or two months to see things for themselves, “ he said.

Mr Peter Nwosu, Special Assistant to Obiano on Oil and Gas Union Matters, in reaction to the threat said he was not aware of the demand notices.

He said as far as he was concerned, the N100,000 unified levy was still valid and promised to investigate the claims.

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