Concerns are mounting over the surging cost of cooking gas in various parts of the country, as Daily Trust investigations have revealed that a kilogram of cooking gas is now being sold for between N1,000 and N1,200,Daily Trust reports.
There are apprehensions that the price may continue to climb due to the scarcity of the product, which is being attributed to supply disruptions.
Our checks in Lagos State indicated that while some retail stations are selling 12.5 kilograms of cooking gas for N12,000, a kilogram is being sold for N1,150 to N1,200 in locations on the outskirts of Lagos like Mowe, Ibafo, and Magboro, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State.
At a major retail outlet in Lagos, attendants mentioned that they were still awaiting the arrival of the product, despite many buyers queuing up with their cylinders since morning. Although a notice at the gas station displayed a price of N8,500 for a 12.5kg cylinder, the attendant could not confirm the current price until the product arrived.
One Mrs. Suebat Ola, who traveled from Mowe, Ogun State, to buy the product in Lagos, explained that she made the journey because the price was prohibitively high in her area. She stated, “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 kilogram, which amounts to over N12,000 for a 12.5kg cylinder. This is too expensive. I don’t know how long we would continue to spend this much on cooking gas.”
Our reporters observed that in many parts of Lagos, most retail stations have exhausted their stock. In areas of Lagos Mainland, the price of cooking gas has surged to N1,100 per kilogram from N750 per kilogram just last week, causing concern among families and businesses.
In Kano metropolis, there were queues at major gas stations visited by our correspondent. While some vendors were selling a kilogram for N880, others were selling it for N950 to N1,000, compared to the previous price of N750.
The situation has forced many households in Kano to resort to using charcoal as an alternative. Vendors attributed the price hike to the high cost of transportation, which has been impacted by the rising cost of diesel.
Muhammad Omede, the Kano State Secretary of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers of Nigeria (LIPGAR), also pointed to difficulties faced by transporters due to poor road networks, especially on the Lagos-Kano road, as a contributing factor.
Some citizens believe that the hike in gas prices is due to factors such as the weak value of the naira, limited bulk storage, and scattered terminals, among other reasons.
Chucks Okafor, a gas retailer in Oshodi, Lagos, expressed concerns that cooking gas users might be paying as much as N1,200 per kilogram before the week ends.
He stated, “The current price stands at N1,100 per kilogram, while 3kg and 6kg cylinders cost N3,300 and N6,600, respectively. A 12kg cylinder of cooking gas now 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, “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.”
Renowned restaurateur Chef Maya also decried the increase in the price of cooking gas, noting that it has forced them to raise menu prices, which could impact their regular customers.
Marketers are attributing the supply disruptions to the scarcity of gas in some parts of Lagos, stating that the vessel scheduled to offload in the state has not done so. Oladapo Olatunbosun, President of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALGAM), warned that the price of a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas might reach N18,000 if the government does not intervene to curb the rising costs. He highlighted that the volume of gas that marketers used to purchase for N8 million is now being sold for N14.5 million.
Olatunbosun emphasized the need for concerted efforts to ensure that cooking gas remains affordable for ordinary Nigerians and called on the government to address the supply issues and the role of intermediaries in the price hike.
An oil and gas expert, Dr. Dauda Garuba, cautioned that if market forces continue to dictate prices in the economy, many Nigerians might revert to using firewood for cooking, which would have environmental consequences. He suggested that the government should intervene and explore solutions to address these challenges.
An official from the Office of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas) acknowledged the challenges faced in regulating the price of cooking gas due to the sector’s deregulation. However, the official mentioned that the government is collaborating with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (NLNG) to boost domestic supply and mitigate price increases.