Rising cost of cooking gas and its consequences on health, economy

Mon, Jun 13, 2022
By editor


While the cooking gas operators and regulators remain silent over the purported hike in the price of cooking gas in Nigeria, the common man will once again have no alternative than to resort to the use of firewood and coal, even though this comes at a huge cost to the health of the citizenry as well as the environment.   
By Anthony Isibor.

THE recent disclosure by the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, that the cooking gas demand nationwide has dropped by 38 percent may not have come as a surprise to many Nigerians.

In October 2021, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers, LPGAR, branch of the National Union of Petrol and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, announced that over 50 per cent of cooking gas users in rural areas had switched back to firewood and charcoal.

The report also said that about 35 per cent of users in semi-urban areas had also abandoned their cooking gas cylinders, while about 20 per cent users in urban areas like Lagos and other big cities had also switched to firewood, kerosene and charcoal due to the rising price of cooking gas in the country.

The persistent hike in the price of cooking gas has continually pushed the ordinary Nigerian to resort to the use of firewood at the expense of his health and economy.

In 2019, the International Centre for Energy, Environment, and Development, ICEED, said that 93,000 Nigerians die annually as a result of smoke inhaled while cooking with firewood, with women and children as the most affected persons.

The report also projected that at least 450,000 Nigeria women will die from cooking with firewood or charcoal in 5 years if an alternative method of cooking is not introduced at an affordable rate.

Similarly, the United Nations, UN also said that close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices like using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene.

It also said that about 20 million people will die globally in five years from cooking with firewood if a deliberate attempt is not made to reduce this.

Also, in March 2022, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS, released a report that indicated a 83.62% increase in the cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Cooking Gas from what it used to be in 2021.

The NBS report also showed that the average price for refilling a 5kg cylinder of cooking gas was N3778.30 in March 2022, from N3708.58 recorded in February 2022, a 1.88% month-on-month increase.

Other far reaching implications are that it has continued to erode the gains recorded in the push for the use of gas as alternative source of energy, as well as frustrate the efforts geared towards ensuring a saver, healthier climate.

It also undermines Nigeria’s efforts towards championing the cause for the use of gas as Africa’s future energy transition model, and also President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Gas Expansion Programme, which seeks to deepen local gas usage within the next decade.

Another report released at the end of the 15th World Forestry Congress, WFC, in Seoul, South Korea tagged “2022 State of the World’s Forests,” has raised environmental concerns about the further use of wood biomass for bioenergy production associated with greenhouse gas emissions, soil-quality degradation and biodiversity loss

Speaking at a recent Midstream and Downstream stakeholder’s summit organised by the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Nkechi Obi, Managing Director, Techno Gas Ltd, said that the price of gas in Nigeria was responsible for the drop in its demand.

According to her, Nigeria is witnessing ‘demand destruction’. “The demand we have built in the past is being destroyed by the price of gas,” she said.

She therefore called on the government to intervene by providing foreign exchange as funds intervention.

However, NALGAM has accused the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA of being responsible for the high cost of cooking gas in the country.

Responding to NALPGAM’s allegation, Nuhu Yakubu, NLPGA President, noted that his association has no control over the price of cooking gas in the country.

He attributed the instability in the retail price of cooking gas to the increasing foreign exchange and other market forces.

Following the contention over the hike in the price of cooking gas, Oladapo Olatunbosun, NALPGAM, President alleged that the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association had increased the price of a 20 metric tons by 100 percent.

According to him, gas importers, who are members of NLPGA sell to plant owners at N12.7 million per 20 metric tons (MT) despite purchasing the product at about N7 million per 20MT from NLNG and other local producers.

He explained that this has led to the sale of cooking gas as at Monday, May 23, at N750 per Kg at the depot and sell at N800/kg at the retail end in Lagos, Ogun and some states in the South West, while the same quantity is as high as N900 to N1000 per kg at retail end in Gombe and Bayelsa and other states. 

While the price of 12kg of gas has increased to over N9000 in June, consumers and gas retailers are appealing for urgent intervention by the federal government to save the sector from the threat of extinction as well as save the lives of millions of rural and urban Nigerians, who have abandoned the use of cooking gas because of the hike in the price of the commodity.    

– June 13, 2022 @ 13:23 GMT |   AI.