Cooking gas price escalates as festive season approaches

Cooking gas

By Anayo Ezugwu

NIGERIANS are worried about the sudden increase in the price and scarcity of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, or cooking gas across the country. The price of cooking gas has been on the increase since the beginning of November.

A market survey conducted by Realnews shows that consumers are paying as high as N4,400 instead of the previous N3,200 to refill 12.5 kilogramme, KG, cylinders and N2,200 as against initial N1,600 for six kilogramme cylinders in major cities in Nigeria.

Some of the retailers, who spoke to Realnews, said no reason was given to them by their suppliers for the increase in the price of the product. A retailer at Iba, a suburb of Lagos, who gave his name as Ifeanyi, said the product is scarce and expensive since the beginning of the month. He observed that despite the increase in price, people are still using cooking gas unlike before, when some of them switched to kerosene or charcoal.

Another retailer at Ajuwon, Lagos, who gave his name as Chinedu, said there is no reason for the sudden increase in the price of cooking gas. “For today, November 14, the price of 12kg is N4,400 and six kg goes for N2,200. The price dropped today because yesterday, I sold 12kg for N4,500 and six kg for N2,300. This is the normal price for now unless it increases tomorrow. The most important thing for me is that my customers are not complaining, they understand the adjustment in prices,” he said.

As the festive period approaches, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, is not happy with the increasing price of cooking gas. The marketers said the price hike is unwarranted. They noted that this is happening despite concerted efforts of the federal government and stakeholders to deepen the use of cooking gas in the country.

Bassey Essien, executive secretary, NALGAM, said at this time of the year in the past, price hikes used to be attributable to winter and increased demand for heating energy and international price index. He said within the last one week, LPG price has soared and marketers did not know the cause. He said price hike would dovetail into consumers paying more for the product and the consumers would blame marketers who are also caught up in the price hikes. “We have consistently questioned why a product in abundance in our country should become a victim of issues occurring internationally,” he said.

According to Essien, within five days, the price of a 20-metric tonne (MT) of LPG, which sold for N3.15 million, jumped to N3.5 million, N3.9 million and within a few hours moved to N4.2 million, despite that the product has been in the storage of the terminals when the price was even sub N3.5 million, so why the sudden upsurge?”

On their part, members of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers, LPGAR, a branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, in a statement noted that the arbitrary increment in price of LPG and supply shortages are embarrassing, especially for a country like Nigeria with abundant gas reserves.

Olukayode Aborisade Solomon, branch secretary, LPGAR, said LPGAR branch of NUPENG is highly dissatisfied with sudden upsurge in price of liquefied petroleum gas by tank farm operators and what appears to be a deliberate reduction in supply or rotation of supply amongst the tank farms.

These, the group said, had led to about 90 percent increment in gas price within a space of one week. “It is likely that this ugly situation will continue if there is no urgent intervention, especially as Christmas and New Year approach. Though the increment began about a month ago, but did not significantly reflect in the price sold to end-users because retail outlets had absorbed the difference believing it would soon normalise.

“However, without any sign of imminent supply or pricing crisis, the price in the last one week suddenly skyrocketed, reaching about 90 percent high. Just a week ago in Lagos and some neighbouring states, 12.5kg of LPG was sold for between N2,600 and N3,000 in retail outlets. It is now sold for between N4,000 and N4500 at retail outlets, owing to sudden hike in the price by tank farm operators.

“If this situation remains unchecked it is capable of undermining the expected development of LPG sector in the country which has been championed by the government and other stakeholders over the years. Nigerians, especially the low income earners who are beginning to adapt to LPG for both domestic and commercial uses are being subjected to exploitations at the time they are already being confronted with economic hardships.

“The situation is already forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources of cooking energy such as firewood and saw dusk irrespective of the attendant health risks and resultant environmental degradation that results from those alternative energy sources.”

But the Nigerian Bureau of Statistic, NBS, had in its September 2019 report said the average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder of cooking gas decreased by -1.21 percent month-on-month and -6.23 percent year-on-year to N1,976.11 in September 2019 from N2,000.34 in August 2019.

According to the report, states with the highest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) were Bauchi (N2,481.88), Borno (N2,382.29) and Adamawa (N2,375.66). States with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) were Abuja (N1,680.00), Ebonyi (N1,700.00) and Osun (N1,711.46).

Similarly, the Bureau said average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder of the product decreased by -2.34 percent month-on-month and by -5.76 percent year-on-year to N4,124.20 in September 2019 from N4,223.08 in August 2019. States with the highest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) were Akwa Ibom (N4,685.05), Benue (N4,600.00) and Cross River (N4,565.32). States with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) were Kano (N3,600.00), Oyo (N3,661.54) and Lagos (N3,705.00).

– Nov. 15, 2019 @ 17:57 GMT |

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