Rising cost of cooking gas pushes Nigerian households to alternative fuel sources

Nigeria has not been able to deepen the penetration and use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the country although it is theoretically able to produce enough LPG to meet local demand.

Although LPG is a safer and more environmentally friendly fuel for cooking food compared to kerosene and charcoal, many Nigerian households, especially in rural areas, still do not have access to it. this source of energy for various reasons ranging from the lack of distribution and storage infrastructure to high costs, insecurity and logistical bottlenecks.

Recently, the price of a 12.5kg cooking gas cylinder has jumped to over N5,000 in parts of Lagos, prompting bitter complaints from domestic consumers who helplessly watch inflation and demand. other economic realities deal a decreasing blow to their purchasing power.

READ: NCDMB launches LPG composite cylinder manufacturing plant in Bayelsa

What the experts say, the FG and the NLNG

Omono Okonkowo, a natural gas analyst, in an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday, spoke about some of the reasons for the difficulty in achieving optimal penetration of liquefied petroleum gas in Nigeria.

She cited factors such as lack of sufficient investment in distribution and storage facilities, especially in rural areas, lack of clear government policies to promote LPG penetration, insufficient stakeholder collaboration, the high cost of cooking gas and the growing insecurity in the country. as being responsible for the sub-optimal adoption of LPG in Nigeria.

“Many Nigerians in rural areas do not have access to [to cooking gas] due to lack of storage, distribution facilities and poor transport infrastructure to rural areas’, she said.

READ: Techno Oil begins mass production of locally manufactured gas cylinders

She also said that some industry players are importing LPG into the country based on high dollar exchange rates from the parallel market, which further increases the cost of cooking gas for end users, making it notably unaffordable for low income people.

“For LPG penetration in sub-Saharan Africa to be successful, we must establish a good foundation, including distribution and storage, as well as policies to ensure that we have an enabling environment for investment to prosper.” she said.

“We have a lot of gas but no infrastructure around gas resources”, she said further. “To reduce imports, adequate investments are needed. Gas suppliers import LPG, pay in dollars, and due to inflation it affects retail prices. “

READ: Oil traders start converting 7,000 outlets into gas stations with N250 billion loan

She argued that despite resources, investments are lacking due to a lack of clear policies for LPG on the part of the government.

For its part, the federal government reaffirmed its commitment to promote the adoption and penetration of LPG in the country. In February of this year, the FG revealed its intention to convert a million cars to gas at no cost, in its autogas initiative. Little has been done in this regard since.

Also in April this year, the FG announced its intention to launch liquefied petroleum gas distribution channels in every local government in Nigeria. Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva said:

“The ministry aims to improve the energy challenge in Nigeria and clean cooking gas is essential in this regard, as 70% of greenhouse emissions are caused by deforestation.

This LPG project will enable us to empower rural women to use a cleaner source of energy for cooking.

READ: Sahara Gas Vessel increases LPG availability with historic 7,000 MT delivery to Nigeria

Again, little has been done with respect to the execution of this policy statement.

Also in April of this year, the FG announced its intention to inject 5 to 10 million bottles of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) into the market by 2022. The program manager, National Implementation Plan LPG expansion, Mr. Dayo Adeshina, revealed during an awareness workshop. on the adoption and implementation of LPG for industry stakeholders, in Lagos, stating:

“The federal government is working to get five to 10 million bottles of cooking gas into the market within a year. We start the injection of the cylinders under the first phase in 11 pilot and FCT states, with two states each of the geopolitical zones.

The states are Lagos, Ogun, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto, Delta, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Enugu, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory. The cylinders will be injected by the distributors. The traders will be responsible for the bottles and the exchange will take place in homes and not at gas stations. “

Despite these policies, it is increasingly difficult for Nigerians to continue purchasing cooking gas due to its rising cost.

READ: How to access the CBN’s 250 billion naira intervention fund for the gas sector

How Nigerians Respond

The rising cost of LPG is wreaking havoc on many Nigerians. Some respondents who spoke to Nairametrics said this:

“I had to go back to using kerosene and sometimes my charcoal barbecue to cook for my family. At over 5,000 N for a 12.5 kg LPG cylinder, cooking gas turns gold in Nigeria. While kerosene isn’t cheap either, I can at least buy it in small portions daily to meet my needs. – Chioma Agu

“It is getting harder and harder to fill my gas cylinder. Everything is so expensive now. Wages have remained fixed, but the rising cost of basic commodities is impoverishing Nigerians. We were complaining when the price of cooking gas hit 4000N. Now it has gone up again and is sometimes unavailable at gas stations. The government must do more to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians. “ – Kenneth Audu

“I am now switching between my electric burner and my gas stove. Although the cost of electricity is high, we still use the old metering system in my enclosure, so I do more of my cooking with the electric burner to save gas. If they end up installing prepaid meters, I don’t know what I’ll do. I may come back to the use of kerosene if the price of cooking gas continues to rise.“- Emmanuela Jean

“The situation in this country is getting crazier and crazier. The government must do something about the rising cost of basic commodities. Cooking gas is slipping out of the reach of the average Nigerian and this goes against all their talk about deepening LPG adoption in the country. “ – Sope Dairo

Conclusion

Although much is planned and said about deepening the adoption of LPG in the country, the government must match the discussions with the actions to ensure that these noble policies are carried out.

Last month, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd said it was meeting around 40% of the demand for the domestic LPG market with the supply of around 370,000 metric tons (MT) of liquefied petroleum gas. (LPG) in the domestic market. in 2020. We are still far from where Nigeria should be in terms of meeting national LPG demands.

If it continues unchecked, the rising cost of LPG can become a brake on the government’s willingness to massively adopt LPG in the country. Much remains to be done not only to provide the infrastructure necessary to meet LPG targets, but also to restore the value of the naira and reverse inflationary pressures that have seen Nigerians become poorer while working harder.

About Mike Stevenson

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