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Business News of Thursday, 18 November 2021

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

Nigerians revert to charcoal, firewood as domestic LPG price increase by 100% nationwide

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As a result of the unbridled increase in the Price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from an average price of N4000 to N8000 across major cities in the federation, Nigerian consumers are beginning to experience hardship following the ripple effect on daily consumption.

According to random sampling carried out by THISDAY, the increase accounts averagely for 100 per cent within a timeframe of 12 months, causing profound distortion in household budgets across all strata of the population.

These are revealed in the spreadsheet analysis of 12.5kg cooking gas prices collected between October 18 and 22 in no fewer than 40 major cities in all states of the federation.

Mrs Salamat Adeyemi, a local food vendor in Abeokuta, lamented that the high cost of gas had forced her to go back to the use of charcoal and firewood.

According to Mrs Adeyemi, the high cost of cooking has increased her cost of production and her customers always complain if she passes the cost on to the quantity and quality of her food.

However, the woman lamented that using firewood and charcoal was already having effects on her health because of the carbon she was breathing in every day.

She said, “I am now fixed because of the situation. Should I continue to save costs by using firewood and charcoal at the cost of my health? Well, I am still managing myself but it is not easy.”

Mrs Adeyemi, therefore, called on the federal government to look into the issue of cooking gas, which an average household must use.

For Mrs Uche Obiageli, who reside in Enugu in South East, the high cost of cooking gas has begun to take a toll on the family budget on feeding.

According to Mrs Obiageli, buying a 12.5 kg gas at almost N9,000 is killing and already causing hardship as her husband had insisted that she must start using charcoal alternately.

“What I now do is that I use gas in the morning to prepare food for the children in the morning to go to school. In the evening, it is charcoal that I now use. Even at that, the price of charcoal has also risen.”

In the South-west, the story is the same as 12.5kg cooking gas price increased by 122.2 per cent in Abeokuta, Ogun State; 110.5 per cent in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State; 132 per cent in Akure, Ondo State and 94.44 per cent in Osogbo, putting pressure on household budgets.

Meanwhile, THISDAY checks revealed that currently, Nigeria consumes about 1.2mmt of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas. However, the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas (NLNG) can only meet 450,000mt of the market requirements, leaving marketers to import the remaining 750,000mt.

Apparently, with the deficit of 750,000mt, the price of cooking gas has been on the steady increase across all states of the federations since 2020 while the federal government has not been able to intervene decisively to cushion its effects on household budgets.

Apart from the deficit, the price disruption had been attributed to unavailability of foreign exchange for importation, naira devaluation and rising inflation, excessive arbitrary charges by government agencies of the federal government and implementation of 7.5 per cent Valued Added Tax (VAT).

In Lagos metropolis, for instance, 12.5kg cooking gas prithat sold for N3,700 in most gas stations in October 2020, has risen to N8,500 as at October 2021, accounting for 109.7 per cent within one year.

Just as in the case of Lagos metropolis, the same quantity of cooking gas that sold for N4,500 in Federal Capital Territory in October 2020, has surged to N8,500 to N9000, representing an increase of 88.89 per cent by October 2021.

Also, most gas stations in Port Harcourt, Rivers State sold 12.5 kg cooking gas at N3,500 in October 2020 while the value of the same quantity has increased to N7,800 in October 2021, representing a 122.85 per cent increase.

Concerned about the price trend across major cities in the federation, Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Association of LPG Marketers, Mr Bassey Essien blamed the federal government for the disruption in the prices of cooking gas in the last 12 months.

Essien explained the frustration of the LPG marketers to access foreign exchange and implementation of 7.5 per cent VAT, among others, as the major rationales for the price escalation.

The executive secretary, therefore, noted that the federal government and people in authority, “are not sincere with the populace, hence the carefree attitude.”

In a statement by its General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Eyono Fatayi-Williams and Head, Media Relations and Corporate Communications, Anne-Marie Palmer-Ikuku, the NLNG, claimed that it was inaccurate to state that NLNG produces 22 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of cooking gas.

The gas conglomerate clarified that it is primarily an export company that produces 22 mtpa MTPA of LNG and 5 mtpa of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs).