BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI—Vehicle owners and commuters in Imo State were Monday stranded, following shut down of filling stations by the leadership of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.
Vanguard gathered that the state leadership of IPMAN embarked on strike to protest the N1 million tax slammed on operators by Imo State Government.
Confirming the shutdown in an interview, state chairman of IPMAN, Sir Christopher Amadi, described the tax slammed on each filling station as “uncharitable, inexplicable, anti-people and had the potential of destroying the state’s economy.”
Asked to say when the shutdown was likely to end, Amadi said “this situation will remain so until the state government assures us that its officials will no longer harass, intimidate and slam obnoxious taxes on filling stations.”
He affirmed that the association had not only informed the national leadership of National Union of Petroleum, Energy and Natural Gas workers, NUPENG, but also secured its approval for their current stand off with government.
Amadi added that, “we have held several meetings with government officials on this vexatious tax. Each time we sought for explanation, we were told that we should see it as our contribution towards the rescue mission of the present state government”.
When contacted on his mobile line for comments, Special Assistant to the Governor on Print Media, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, confirmed the development and quickly added that the petrol dealers had not been paying tax to government for years.
He said: “These people have not been paying tax to government for years. Government is only insisting that they pay tax. No government can survive without internally generated revenue”.
Although Uzoukwa said government was prepared to talk with the leadership of IPMAN, Vanguard, however, gathered that transport fares had been hiked by the few commercial vehicle operators with fuel to operate.