Consumers at Cooking Gas Depot in Lagos

Nigerian retailers, consumers groan amid increasing cooking gas prices

*Cooking gas dealers and consumers have frowned on cooking gas price increases, saying the situation is putting strain on ‘women managing the home front’ across the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Retailers and consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) otherwise known as cooking gas have decried the recent hikes in product prices across the West African country.

The concerned stakeholders made their views known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Lagos, following the increases in the prices of cooking gas, particularly in the last one month.

It was gathered that consumers have been struggling with the high cost of cooking gas due to global supply challenges, high international prices, limited availability of Foreign Exchange (Forex) and high exchange rates in the economy.

Market research indicated the price of a 12.5kg cylinder has increased from about N8,400 to N9,500, in Lagos, and environs and N10,000 in other parts of the country.

Mrs. Ayo Olaiya, a businesswoman reportedly said that the hike in the price of cooking gas was putting strain on women managing the home front.

The woman also stated: “With gas you can quickly get food ready for the family, especially when you are in a hurry, but now I can’t even use it all the time because of the costs.

“Now, I am using charcoal stove mostly because it is cheaper despite the stress and discomfort.”

Similarly, Mrs. Iyabo Olowookere, a food vendor in Iyana-Ipaja area, said the increase in the price of gas was affecting her business negatively.

According to Olowookere,  normally, she used 12kg cylinder with three burners for cooking, but had started using firewood as an alternative due to the cost of cooking gas.

She said: “Government should help us stop this increment because it is not easy for us at all, and even if we increase the cost of our food or reduce the quantity, we will be losing customers.”

Mr. Michael Umudu, National Chairman, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR), branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), said the situation was, indeed, worrisome for both retailers and consumers.

Umudu confirmed that the price of 12.5kg cylinder had risen from about N8,400 to between N9,500 and N10,000 in Lagos, and other parts of Nigeria.

Prices at the depots, he disclosed, have similarly risen to about  N12.6 million for 20 metric tons from N11.4 million, which was the average price a few weeks ago.

“The worrisome aspect of this development is that it has continued to rise on daily basis for weeks now but began to escalate in the last few weeks leading to significant increases in both depots and retail outlets.

“For us as retailers, it is a big problem because we can’t even afford to stock up our shops and even when we do, it will take time before we can make enough sales to get back our investments,” Umudu said.

The LPGAR National Chairman also: “What we find now is that people even bring in 12.5kg cylinders but opt to fill them with less than 6kg of gas just to manage at home.”

Umudu said the gas retailers’ union, therefore, expected the government to come up with a clear policy direction for the development of LPG in the country in order to forestall an ugly situation.

He further stated: “LPG as a clean energy has steadily been embraced by low-income earning Nigerians in the last seven years against previous years when it was seen as the preserve of the rich.

“What we are witnessing now is that demand for LPG is reducing drastically because people can no longer afford the product and are resorting to firewood and kerosene stoves which have health implications.”

The National Chairman  again, appealed to the Federal Government to create a dedicated Forex window for LPG importers

The allocation from the Nigerian LNG Limited could only meet about 40 percent of the consumption in the country, he said.

Nonetheless, the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) has disclosed that Nigeria consumed a total of 1.2MT of LPG in 2021 with about 60 percent of the product imported into the country by marketers.

Mr. Andy Odeh, General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development at NLNG, explained that the company supplied about 400,000MT of LPG to the domestic market in 2021, report said.

Odeh stated that the Board approved the supply of 450,000MT, 100 percent of the company’s  LPG production (Propane and Butane) to the domestic market 2022.

He noted this development marked the company’s strong commitment to the continued growth of the domestic LPG market.

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