…It’s to ensure industry safety, DPR
By Obas Esiedesa
Oil marketers have protested a new charge by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, for renewal or acquisition of licences for petroleum products storage and sale outlets in the country.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, in a statement by its Deputy National President, Alhaji Debo Ahmed on Sunday said the marketers would resist any additional cost in the downstream sector.
Ahmed explained that the Minimum Industry Safety Training for Downstream Operations, MISTDO, fee which the DPR has introduced as a prerequisite to renew or to acquire a new storage and sales licence is another cost burden on retail outlet operators.
But in a swift reaction, the DPR has explained that the Minimum industry safety training for downstream operations (MISTDO) is a compulsory program introduced to safeguard operations in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The MISTDO program covers Depots, Petrol Stations, Product pipelines, LPG plants and Petroleum Trucks, it added.
Ahmed disclosed that the DPR is charging N25,000.00 each for the training of pump attendants and N35,000.00 each for the training of a station manager.
“No matter how many pump attendants and number of retail outlets, without the Certificate of Training, new filling station will not be approved or a license will not be renewed”, he explained.
He added: “The DPR has forgotten that, one of the requirements for Filling Station approval is Trained Attendants Letter from an already established Filling Station which practical aspect includes this DPR MISTDO.
“Moreover, employment turnover in filling stations are very high. Most pump attendants use filing station employment as a stop gap pending when another good job is secured.
“On-the-job training is the best approach to this kind of high employment turnover sector of the oil industry which is practical for new entrants in the retail outlets”.
He lamented that the marketers were also facing multiple charges from state and local governments.
He said they face “multiple charges from Local and State Government in all facets of a built filling station e.g. Approval to Build, Land Charges, Ground Rent, Setback, Signboard, Business Premises, Fire Certificate, Weight & Measure Fees and host of others, I cannot mention here.
“DPR should also know that there has not been any increase on marketer’s margin for the past 15 years on premium motor spirit (petrol) whereas there has been geometrical increase on acquisition cost of PMS. The marketer’s margin on the aggregate when PMS was N97.00 per litre is the same margin when PMS is N165.00 per litre.
“On what profit margin do retail outlets absorb all these arbitrary cost running into hundreds of thousands? At this critical period when Federal Government is preparing to deregulate the downstream, a government agency should not try to introduce extraneous charges that may work against the policy.
“It is within the purview of DPR to organize symposiums, refresher courses and conferences to enlighten the retail outlet operators instead of introducing new charges through consultants.
“We are appealing to the Minister and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to look into this issue before it snowball into agitation”, he added.
The Department in a statement by Head, Public Affairs, Paul Osu explained that “the program, which was launched following extensive collaborations with relevant stakeholders including IPMAN, was a direct response to upsurge in downstream sector accidents and operational mishaps leading to high casualty and fatality rates averaging 54 fatalities yearly within a 5/year period.
“The objectives of MISTDO amongst others, include to enforce and standardize basic training for Downstream workers and to provide industry reference for prospective trainees.
“The program requires robust accreditation of training centres for existing workers and new entrants into the Downstream sector, where successful trainees are issued a certificate valid for two years at a negotiated cost between the trainees and the certified training centres”.
Mr. Osu stressed that DPR does not charge the trainees for the MISTDO program.
“To further ensure transparency of operations between the training centres and trainees, DPR made it mandatory for trainers to publish their cost of providing training on the MISTDO portal managed by DPR”, he stated.