Increase in Prices of Cooking Gas worry Nigerians

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The price of cooking gas in Nigeria continues to skyrocket despite the availability of the product

By Anayo Ezugwu

Nigerians are worried about the continuous increase in price of cooking gas despite its availability. The price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, fondly called cooking gas, has been on the increase since the end of July.

A market survey conducted by Realnews shows that consumers are paying as high as N4,400 instead of the previous N4,000 to refill 12.5 kilogramme, KG, cylinders and N2,200 as against initial N2,000 for six kilogramme cylinders in Lagos and Enugu.

But in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State and Abuja, a 12.5kg cylinder is sold at N4,500 while that if 6kg is N2,300.  Some of the retailers, who spoke to Realnews, said no reason was giving to them by their suppliers for the increase in the price of the product.

A retailer at Awada, a suburb of Onitsha, who gave his name as Chinweike, said the product is not scarce but his suppliers just increased the price, so he has to adjust the prices as well to make profits. 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, attributed the increase to the fact that more people are using the product. “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.

But some consumers, who spoke to Realnews expressed surprise about the increase in the price of the product. Hamsat Ibrahim, resident of Ajuwon, said the rise in the price is not helping her to plan for the family expenses. According to her, she argued with the gas retailer when she went to refill her 6kg cylinder on Sunday, August 26, that he can’t increase prices without justifications.

“The last time I refill my 6kg cylinder I paid N2,200 instead of N2,000 and I asked the reason for the increase but no cogent reason was giving to me. It took the intervention of my husband for me to refill the cylinder at that particular shop. I wanted to check another place because I didn’t plan for the N200 increment. So I warned him that if this continues I would stop coming to his station,” she said.

Likewise, a reporter with ReaInews was equally surprised when he was told that the price has increased. According to him, he budgeted N2,000 for his six kg cylinder but was told that the price has changed to N2,200. “I went out with only N2000 so I had to owe the gas seller N200. No matter how small the increment is, it is something. It doesn’t make sense to me that someone would increase prices without justifications,” he said.

Despite the increase in prices of cooking gas, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its July cooking gas price watch, said the price is decreasing. The report showed that an average price for refilling a five kilogramme decreased to N2,010.45 in July from N2,034.93 in June.

The NBS report released on Wednesday, August 15, indicated that the price paid by consumers for a five kilogramme cooking gas decreased by -1.20 percent month-on-month and -9.69 percent year-on-year. It named the states with the highest average price for refilling of a five kilogramme cylinder for cooking gas to include Bauchi, N2,500.00; Borno, N2,401.43; and Gombe, N2,314.29.

It said states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder were Edo, N1,731.25; Abuja, N1,730.00; and Ebonyi, N1,700.00. “Similarly, average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas decreased by -0.81 percent month-on-month and -2.97 percent year-on-year to N4,244.35 in July 2018 from N4,278.95 in June 2018.

“States with the highest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas were Benue, N4,775.00; Kaduna, N4,716.67; and Akwa Ibom, N4,660.00. Also, states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas were Oyo, N3,855.63; Ogun, N3,849.09; and Lagos, N3,615.38,” it said.

To stem the tide of persistent disruptions in the supply chain, Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG, is determined to reinforce the domestic LPG market with a new LPG vessel which will boost volume and availability. This, will consolidate the company’s contributions to deepen the domestic LPG industry and increase consumption of the clean gas.

The new LPG vessel will be built by E.A Temile and Sons Company Limited, a wholly Nigerian company, under a contract with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, South Korea and chartered to NLNG. At the contract signing ceremony between E.A Temile and Sons Limited and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in London, recently, Tony Attah, managing director, NLNG, said the signing ceremony was ground-breaking for NLNG because it supports the company’s aspiration, firstly, to further help develop the DLPG market and to promote the growth of indigenous companies and Nigeria’s economy.

“NLNG remains the single largest supplier of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, (over 50 percent) in Nigeria and looks to enable its expansion in future. We produce the LPG in our Plant in Bonny, Rivers State, Nigeria, and transport it by sea to Lagos from where it is distributed to every part of the country. This assures the product availability, accessibility, and affordability which are central to us as a company.

NLNG’s domestic LPG intervention scheme aligns with its business focus of bringing energy to the world and helping to build a better Nigeria. A World Health Organisation, WHO, report on Household Air Pollution and Health published in May 2018, affirms that, about 4 million people die prematurely annually from illness attributable to air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using solid fuels and kerosene. And local data suggests that about 100,000 women and children die in Nigeria annually from the same causative factors. We believe that the expansion and strengthening of the DLPG market can help to stem this tide in Nigeria,” he said.

– Sept. 7, 2018 @ 15:05 GMT

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