Local food vendors groan over high cost of cooking gas

The high cost of cooking gas has made operations difficult for local food vendors, popularly known as ‘Mama Put’, with several making hard decisions to remain in business as several visits to such establishments by BusinessDay show.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the average retail price of 12.5 kg of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) commonly known as Cooking gas, rose by 61 percent to N9,906 in September, from the same period last year.

Akingbola Victoria, a local food vendor in Owode Ibeshe Ikorodu, said the cost of filling a 12.5kg cylinder increased from N6000 to N11,000 in her area.

“The prices are not stable. Sometimes, gas retailers unnecessarily increase the price, claiming the dollar rose overnight.”

To cope, Victoria said she had to make difficult choices.

“For instance, N100 rice used to be two spoons. Now I had to change the spoon size to a smaller one and still sell N100 for two spoons but in a smaller spoon size. However, the reduction in the quantity of my food did not reduce my customers, new customers walk in every time.”

On the other hand, Tony Eze, a gas vendor, told BusinessDay that he refills 1 kg cylinder of gas for N850- N900. “Sometimes the prices vary,” Tony said.

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Tosin Omolara, another local food vendor that sells rice by the roadside at challenge expressway, Ibadan says she refills her 6kg gas for N4800.

She said, “I use 6kg for cooking most of my food. I have no other option than to cope. Apart from cooking gas, I use charcoal, but anytime I use it I usually have a catheter.”

She further said she did not reduce the quality of her food but reduced the quantity. My customers complain but I apologise to them, addressing the issue in Nigeria’s economy.

Omolara said, “When gas prices increased, I had to stop selling beans (Ewa Agoyin) because it takes time to prepare.

“I just majored in rice, spaghetti and plantain. So most of my customers who buy beans from me had to look for other alternatives.”

Aminat, who runs a food business at Ago Iwoye Ogun State said she filled her 50kg some weeks back for N42,500. “Due to the demand of my customers, I use 50kg for a month, sometimes a month and a half.”

She said, “I cannot complain because complaining will not solve anything. I have another side hustle I make money from.

“For instance If a customer wants me to make a pot of chicken stew, I add a little packaging to it.”

Taiwo Aminat further said that she did not increase the price of her food because she would lose customers.

“My food joint is beside Olabisi Onobajo, University, Ogun state. Students mostly patronize me, because of the quality of my food. So, imagine I transfer the cost to the customer? It will not be a good idea,” Aminat said.