• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Soaring price of cooking gas drains consumers’ pockets

12.5kg cooking gas price may cost N18,000 by December – Retailers

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), otherwise called cooking gas, is a necessity for every Nigerian due to its time-efficient and non-polluting properties over other petrochemical fuels like kerosene used for preparing meals at home, restaurants, and many other places.

Several decades ago, a larger percentage of Nigerians used sawdust, firewood, and kerosene stove as their preferred cooking energy choice but with the price reduction and penetration of cooking gas into the market, citizens have begun to adopt it as an alternative source.

However, the price of cooking gas has soared in the last month, making it difficult for low-income earners and poor masses to afford a kilogram of gas.

Besides not being within the purchasing power of consumers, the price increase of cooking gas may have a ripple effect on owners of food kiosks who are already feeling the impacts of the rising cost of food items, particularly rice, garri, and tomatoes.

Despite Nigeria’s estimated population of over 200 million people, only five percent of citizens use gas for cooking, about 60 percent use firewood, 30 percent use kerosene, while five percent rely on charcoal.

Read also: Cooking gas marketers write FG over price hike

Available report by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) revealed that Nigeria’s domestic consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) exceeded 1 million Metric Tonnes (MT) in 2020.

It showed that Nigeria consumed 840,594.37 MT LPG in 2019 and 635,452.061 MT recorded in 2018.

To promote the use of LPG in the country, the Federal Government at the national LPG sensitization and awareness campaign in Abuja, rolled out plans to expand the current five percent to 90 percent in the next 10 years.

“For Nigeria to meet the expansion target, then something urgent needs to be done to address the rising cost of cooking gas in the market or else it may defeat the purpose of the Federal Government’s plan to increase usage of domestic gas,” says James Edobor, a Benin resident.

A recent visit to some gas stations in Benin City indicates that the price of cooking gas has significantly increased with a kilogram (kg) of cooking gas now N450 compared to N380 sold a month ago. While a kg of gas sold by roadside vendors goes for N500.

BusinessDay’s survey on Thursday revealed that the price of 15kg cooking gas sells between N6,700 and N6,750 as against N5,700 sold previously. While 12.5kg ranges from N5,625 to N5,600 as against N4,700.

In addition, the price of 5kg cooking gas, mostly used by university students who are on a meager budget, has increased from N1,900 to N2,250.

A Benin-based civil servant, who craved anonymity, lamented the prevailing situation saying, “In the first week of July I bought 12.5kg at the rate of N5,000. On getting to the gas plant on Monday, I was told the price has gone up. For now, my wife and I have concluded not to fill it immediately because it is beyond our budget for the month of August.

For Gift Aisosa, a food vendor, “We are in hard times. The cost of food has gone up, and now the price of cooking gas used in preparing the food has increased. I switched to a kerosene stove but the money I have spent is even more. With my little profit, how do I sustain my business for the remaining months of the year?”