Not yet respite for Nigerians on cooking gas price
There is no respite in sight for the rising price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) known as cooking gas before the end of the year, as indications revealed that the price is yet to be reviewed.
The Guardian survey revealed that LPG now sells for between N8,300 and N8,700 per 12.5kg depending on the locations across the country. This has created palpable fears for consumers in the Yuletide season.
The development, according to marketers, was triggered by the soaring price of gas at the international market, as well as the introduction of 7.5 per cent import tax by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
However, investigations revealed that the present situation might persist till next year unless the Federal Government takes drastic measures to address the situation.
According to The Guardian survey, the price has risen from about N4,500 to about N8,800 per 12.5kg in Jos; N8,450 in Ota, Ogun State; N8,900 in Benue; N8,450 in Jigawa; N8,470 in Benin City; N8,950 in Badagry; N8,800 in Ijebu Ode, and N8,850 in Port Harcourt, among others.
At the depots, the LPG price per 20 metric ton (MT) as of Friday was N11.1 million at NIPCO, N11.1 million at Navgas, N11.05 million at Matrix in Warri, N11.05 at Prudent in Oghara and N11.1 million at Stockgap, Port Harcourt. The price is the same at Rainoil, Techno Oil, and 11 PLC Apapa.
A senior officer at a major gas-marketing firm disclosed to The Guardian that the soaring price has become a worrisome phenomenon for marketers since the government introduced the new import tax.
The source noted that the situation will remain unabated unless the government takes a drastic step to review its policy on import tax and encourages the local supply of LPG.
The source also revealed that the shortage in the local market is caused by poor supply, as many gas-producing firms prefer to export rather than supply domestic market due to the price parity.
Currently, the Nigerian LPG domestic market gets 60 per cent of products from import by marketers while a paltry 40 per cent is supplied locally.
“The gas producers prefer to export because the export price is higher than the local price. Also, there is no legislation that they must supply the local market,” the source said.
He noted that gas marketers have met the Minister of Finance and the Customs on the matter, but there is no positive response yet.
Meanwhile, the President of Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA), Nuhu Yakubu, said the group is currently engaging the government to address all the necessary issues, including access to foreign exchange, value-added tax, levies, among others, hoping that their efforts will yield positive results in good time.
He said: “The high prices of LPG have shifted the demand for firewood and charcoal, thus fuelling desertification and erosion with a very negative impact on the environment.”
He urged that a package of new incentives should be introduced to stimulate investment, processing and utilisation of LPG in Nigeria in line with the nation’s Decade of Gas agenda.
An environmentalist and founder of the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation, David Michael Terungwa, has also urged the government to reverse the gas import tax.
Terungwa observed that failure to do this might lead to massive deforestation, which is already ongoing because an average Nigerian cannot afford to use gas.