On Saturday, marketers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), often known as cooking gas, raised concern about a supply constraint that has resulted in a steady rise in the price of the commodity.
They cautioned that if nothing was done to address the problem, 12.5kg of cooking gas, which is now retailing for between N7,500 and N8,000, might jump to N10,000 by December.
More Nigerians, according to the traders, are turning to unrefined energy sources like firewood, charcoal, and sawdust, whose costs have begun to rise as well.
Mr Bassey Essien, the Executive Secretary of the National Association of LPG Marketers, revealed this at a weekly e-discourse hosted by Platforms Africa, a renowned Pan-African forum, according to a statement released on Saturday by the organization’s Team Lead, Adeola Yusuf.
Platforms Africa is the continent’s e-community of intellectuals, policymakers, and opinion leaders.
“The price of cooking gas may as well reach N10,000 for a 12.5kg cylinder,” Essien said, implying that the government should reassess the recently enacted import taxes and Value Added Tax.
He said, “Today (Saturday), the price has risen to N7,500 and N8,000. The skyrocketing price of gas is our fear and what we are trying to avoid. Early in the year, a 20-metric ton of gas was selling for below N5m but today, the same tonnage sells for N10.2m. As long as there is that supply shortage, the available quantity and the dynamics of supply-demand will keep pushing the price higher.”
Essien expressed fear that more Nigerians might be compelled to return to coal, sawdust, kerosene, and other unclean fuels as “the price of the cooking gas has suddenly gone up,” citing poor patronage of NALPGAM due to high prices.
He did say, though, that the association was working with the government, stakeholders, producers, and importers to figure out how to address the situation.
Essien added, “We are also meeting with the marketers vide moral suasion not to capitalise on the situation to inflict more pains on citizens by increasing the cost of gas in their locations though they are equally expending huge cost to have cooking gas at their locations.”
The NALPGAM secretary also bemoaned the increasing rise in cylinder prices over the years, claiming that all raw materials utilized by the country’s two-cylinder manufacturing units were imported.
He claimed that despite Nigeria’s population of around 180 million people, the country only had up to 10 million cylinders in circulation, with many of them being defective.
He said, “The cylinder ownership structure in the country ensures that owners are in charge of their cylinders. Cylinders expire on the 15th year of usage from the manufacturing date. Because of the high replacement cost, consumers buy what they can afford. This has equally encouraged the proliferation of substandard cylinders in circulation. The regulators are working hard to monitor the standard of cylinders coming into the country.
“The progress in-cylinder acquisition still needs government input to ensure that the cost of materials for cylinder production get the necessary exemption from duties but however the state of our local currency still remains a major problem.”
Yusuf, Team Lead, Platforms Africa, encouraged the Federal Government to intervene and alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.