BusinessDay

Average cooking gas price rises 35% in 10 months

The average retail price paid by Nigerians to refill a 12.5 kg Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas has risen by 35 percent year to date, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Data obtained from NBS show that the average retail price rose by 35 percent to N10, 051 in October from N7,400 in January. On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 1.45 percent from N9,906 in September.

The surge in price worsens the cost of living for low-income households and derails gains in eliminating dirty fuels for cooking.

According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report by NBS, over half of the 113 million poor Nigerians cook with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than clean energy.

Akuboh Benjamin, a resident at Life Camp, Abuja, told BusinessDay that he now uses firewood for cooking large meals to cope with the high cost of gas.

“We use our 6kg gas cooker for things like warming soup and making spaghetti. However, we usually use firewood for cooking large meals,” Benjamin said.

Eze Ebuka, a resident of Satellite Town, Lagos said the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder cost N10, 500 in his area.

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“Every time I go to the gas station in Petrocam, Abule Ado, the price keeps increasing,” Ebuka said. “So far, I have been mindful of the way I use the gas.”

Analysts blame the high price of LPG on a lack of infrastructure, the global shortfall in gas supply, inadequate local production, shortage of foreign exchange, devaluation of the naira, and logistic hitches.

Nigeria’s local manufacturing capacity for cooking gas is limited, said Chinedu Onyegbula, an energy sector expert and director at Bullox Resources Limited.

“The product from the oil and gas refining process is not being subsidised, hence dollar fluctuations and Nigeria’s inability to exploit its huge gas reserves and the fact that distribution and transportation cost locally is not cheap are affecting the price,” he said.

For Collins Obi, an energy specialist, foreign exchange escalation affects the price of LPG in Nigeria’s local market, which is a downside of import dependency for a crucial product we have in abundance.

“If LPG is locally sourced the prices will come down and will be cheaper for Nigerians because the price in the international market varies and is higher at Nigerian depot,” he said.

The NBS identified Cross River as the highest average retail price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas at N10,986, followed by Oyo at N10,826 and Kogi at N10,783.

The lowest average price was recorded in Yobe with N8,533, followed by Sokoto and Katsina with N9,100 and N9,203 respectively.

Analysis by zone showed that the South-South recorded the highest average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas at N10,454, followed by the South-West with N10,313, while the North-East recorded the lowest price at N9,501.

Experts say Africa’s biggest economy has one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, yet meeting local demand remains a major challenge. They say it is important for the government to find ways to improve local gas supply and transport infrastructure on land to aid its availability to Nigerians at a cheaper price.

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