Permit Dispute: Reps committee urges workable solution

 The House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee on Relocation of Tank Farms from Residential Areas has urged a workable solution to the dispute over permit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos State Government and petroleum products depot operators are enmeshed in a dispute over permit.

The Committee’s Chairman, Mr Sergius Ogun, gave the advice in a telephone interview with NAN on Tuesday in Lagos.

NAN reports that the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) had on Monday sealed eight tank farms in Ijegun-Egba, Satellite Town, Lagos for not having prerequisite operations permits.

However, the depots were later reopened by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which argued that LASPPPA lacked the constitutional power to shut them down because the industry was clearly under the Exclusive List.

The petroleum sector regulatory agency also noted that the depots receive about 40 per cent of products coming into Lagos, adding that their closure could lead to scarcity across the country.

Ogun told NAN that the committee has been engaging with the parties involved in the dispute but does not have the power to stop the Lagos State Government from taking action against the operators.

He said the government had been exercising patience with the tank farm owners over the regularisation of all their documents and prerequisite permits to enable them continue their operations.

“What I was told is that they are supposed to pay about N200 million each for the permit but they can work it out with the state government on how best to make the payment.

“So, they should sit down and discuss. Asking anybody to pay N200 million at this time is a lot. They can spread it and make payments quarterly.

“They need to find a workable solution to this issue because if you shut the depots, it will not bring money to the Lagos State Government and the business owners will suffer and people employed there will suffer.

“Government is continuous and they should allow them pay in installments because the Lagos State Government will always be there

“If they are working and paying little by little it becomes a win-win for everybody,’’ Ogun said. (NAN)