There are growing concerns over the rising price of cooking gas as a kilogramme is now sold for between N1,000 and N1,200 in parts of the country, checks by Daily Trust have shown.

There are also fears that the price may rise further owing to the scarcity of the product, which marketers are attributing to supply disruption.

Checks by Daily Trust across Lagos State yesterday showed that while 12.5 kilogrammes of cooking gas is sold for N12,000 at some retail stations, a kilogramme was sold for N1,150 and N1,200 in Lagos outskirts like Mowe, Ibafo and Magboro, among others, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State.

When our correspondent visited a major retail outlet in the state, the attendants said the product was still being expected, even as many buyers had queued up with their cylinders since morning.

Although a notice at the gas station showed N8,500 per 12.5kg, the attendant could not confirm the current price, saying until the product arrived.

However, one Mrs Suebat Ola, who drove down from Mowe, Ogun State, to buy the product in Lagos, said she decided to come to Lagos because the price was too high on the outskirts.

She said, “I came all the way from Mowe to fill my cylinders because along our axis, it is sold at between N1,150 and N1,200 per kg and that would be over N12,000 for 12.5kg. This is too expensive. I don’t know how long we would continue to spend this much buying cooking gas.”

Our correspondents who went round parts of Lagos yesterday report that most retail stations have run out of stock.

In parts of Lagos Mainland, cooking was yesterday sold for N1,100/kg from N750/kg it was sold last week with many families and businesses expressing concern over the price hike.

In Kano metropolis, there were queues at major gas stations visited by our correspondent.

While some vendors were selling a kilogramme for N880, others were selling at N950 and N1,000 as against N750 it was previously sold.

The situation was said to have forced many households in the state to resort to the use of charcoal.

Vendors attributed the hike to the high cost of transportation occasioned by the high cost of diesel.

The Kano State Secretary of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers of Nigeria (LIPGAR), Muhammad Omede, also blamed “the difficulties usually encountered by transporters due to poor road network, especially the Lagos-Kano road.”

Some citizens attributed the gas price hike to the weak naira, limited bulk storage and scattered terminals among other factors.

A gas retailer at Oshodi in Lagos, Chucks Okafor, said cooking gas users might pay N1,200 before the end of the week.

He said: “The current price stands at N1,100 per kg, while 3kg and 6kg cost N3,300 and N6,600 respectively; a 12kg cylinder of cooking gas costs N13,200.

“Many people who come to my store are shocked by the prices. Many walk away unable to make a purchase. I understand their plight, but as a retailer, my hands are tied too.”

Mrs Adebayo Esther Aderonke, a Lagos resident, lamented that “Cooking gas has become a luxury we can barely afford. We used to cook three meals a day, but now we have had to cut back. It is disheartening.”

Chef Maya, a renowned restaurateur, who also decried the increase in the price of cooking gas, said: “Our menu prices have had to increase, and customers are noticing. We fear losing our regulars due to the rising costs.”

Marketers Blame Supply Disruption, Warn Of Further Increase 

The president of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALGAM), Oladapo Olatunbosun, in a chat with Daily Trust, called on the federal government to be proactive in checking the price increase.

He blamed the scarcity of gas in some parts of Lagos on supply disruption, saying the vessel that was supposed to offload in the state had not done so.

“Information at our disposal reveals that Nigerians are facing hard times getting the product,” he noted.

He warned that the price of 12.5kg of cooking gas might soon hit N18,000 if the federal government failed to check the rising cost.

He said the volume marketers used to buy for N8 million is now sold for N14.5 million.

Olatunbosun said the price would continue to go up as long as marketers are buying the product at an exorbitant rate.

He said there must be concerted effort to ensure the product remains affordable to the common man.

“Go to the North and the far East and see what people are facing. In some places, they are buying at N1,300 per kg because the cost of buying at the terminal has gone up at a very high rate. As of today, terminals are selling for N14.5 million what used to be about N8 million and N8.5 million.

“The supply has also been somehow epileptic. The vessel from NLNG went to Port Harcourt twice and that is the reason why there is delay in Lagos. The vessel came back to Lagos two days ago. They just offloaded it and the quantity it brought was not that substantial. We are expecting it back in about a week.

“So, we are using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, particularly the new Minister of Gas, to pay attention to LPG. LPG is a product that can serve all Nigerians, both the young and the old; everybody who needs gas.

“And for the fact that the fuel subsidy removal is biting hard on people, electricity is not regularly supplied, people do not have any other means to cook than gas; it is now becoming what they cannot afford and it therefore means our forest will suffer for it.

“So, we need to look into the supply, and what is the price that is coming to the market? What prices are they selling at? What is really behind the hiked price and what role can the government play? Is it the role of intermediaries? Is it the role of the middlemen? What is actually causing the high price?

According to him, while some people blame the hike on the forex crisis, there is an element of profiteering in it.

“This is where the government has to beam its searchlight and caution all the players and also have a regular meeting with the terminal operators and off-takers on how we can protect Nigerians.

“The poor Nigerians are suffering; gas is getting out of the reach of Nigerians and it is not making life easy for anybody.

“We are not happy about that. As businessmen, we are suffering the cost of buying and the cost of doing business has also gone up. And the product is not all that available.

“So, while the government is tackling regular supply, it also needs to work on the major suppliers, the off-takers, so that a little of profiteering should be downplayed now to protect the poor Nigerians so that gas can be affordable.”

Nigerians May rResort To Using Firewood – Expert 

An oil and gas expert, Dr Dauda Garuba, said no nation leaves its economy entirely to market forces.

“I am not surprised and I strongly believe that if you are leaving your economy to full market forces, there is a sense in which some of the sectors are interfacing. As long as the sectors are interfacing with one another and they are not thriving in isolation, certainly whatever robs one will certainly be robbing on another,” he noted.

He said many Nigerians might be forced to return to using firewood to cook which would affect the environment.

Garuba stated, “For me, ultimately it is the return to firewood that we are gradually inching to and we also know the environmental impact of that, especially concerning the issue of emission and all those things.

“Anything that has to do with energy is about national security. The government, in an ideal situation, will continue to find solutions to the issue. If you think back, the sole reason given for some of these increases is that the government has no business in business. But have you also asked yourselves that even governance is not working? Why don’t you privatise governance so that some of these politicians will go home and rest?”

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