Rising cooking gas price: Nigerians resort to charcoal, firewood


Due to the ongoing surge in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or cooking gas, Nigerians in certain regions of the country have turned to utilising charcoal.

Due to increased demand, the price of charcoal has also increased, and some people have begun to substitute firewood, according to Daily Trust.

Investigations conducted in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Jos revealed that locals were spending roughly N18,000 to fill a 12.5 kilogramme cooking gas cylinder.

Based on the annual increases, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALGAM) estimated last year that a 12.5 kg cylinder would cost N18,000.

In November of last year, after the cost of cooking gas increased from roughly N700 to over N1,100 per kilogramme, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, constituted a committee headed by the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, to come up with recommendations on how to boost supplies and crash the price within a week.

Despite that assurance, the price of cooking gas has continued to increase with a kilogramme selling for N1,400 in some parts of the country. This translates into 17,500 for a 12.5 kg cylinder.

The Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communications, Louis Ibah, neither answered phone calls nor replied text and WhatsApp messages sent to him by Daily Trust seeking to know what the government was doing to crash the price of cooking gas as promised.

The minister had, at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Abuja on February 6, listed the measures the government would take to bring down the price of cooking gas.

He said the government would prioritise the domestication and penetration of the LPG towards ensuring accessibility and availability for consumers; and increase upstream gas production to bridge supply and improve strategic economic sectors like gas to power, Gas-Based Industries (GBIs), and gas for export.

Ekpo also said the government would complete major gas midstream infrastructure and projects, including the AKK Gas Pipeline Project, the OB3 Gas Pipeline Project and the ANOH Project. This, according to him, would enable flagship projects like the Brass Methanol Project to enhance the efficiency and capacity of the gas sector.

A survey by this paper at the weekend in Lagos indicated that cooking gas sold for between N1, 150 and N1, 350 per kg; and between N1, 250 and N1, 350 in some areas in Ogun State.

A resident of Ojodu-Berger, Miss Uchechi, said she bought one kilogramme for N1, 400. Also, at Oke Aro, Lagos-Ogun boundary community, it was sold at N1,300 up from 1,150.

A Lagos resident, Rasheed Ayodeji, said the rising price of cooking gas had increased the cost of living.

In Ilorin, Kwara State, residents yesterday filled a 12.5kg gas cylinder with N16,875 from the N13, 000 it was sold about a week earlier.

In Kano metropolis, residents said they were already seeking alternatives on account of increasing price as retail outlets were selling a kilogramme of cooking gas between N1, 350 and N1,450 depending on the location.

A.A Rano, a major gas dealer in Kano, was selling at N1, 280 per kilogramme when our reporter visited; while Ultimate Gas, also a major dealer, was selling at N1,300 per kg.

A 12 kg cylinder was refilled with N17,000; and 6kg, N8,500, at AM Fago, a retail outlet on Inuwa Dutse road.

But our reporter observed that retailers at Fagge and Sharada were selling gas at N1,350 per kg. Munzali Muhammad Hausawa, a civil servant in Kano, said he had switched to using charcoal because of the high cost of cooking gas.

“A 12 kg of cooking gas lasts for two weeks in my house, while two bags of charcoal which I bought at N9, 000 will last for the whole month,” he said.

In some places at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the price of a one kilogramme of gas is now between N1,300 and N1,350.

A retailer at Lugbe said distributors attributed the increased price to non-availability of the cooking gas.

But at Kubwa and Deidei, retailers sold the product at between N1,250 and N1,300 at the weekend.

Reports from Jos, Plateau State, indicated that prices of firewood and charcoal were on the rise with sellers lamenting about low patronage.

Yakubu Jibrin, a firewood seller at Anguwan Rogo community, said: “We have a bunch of N100 and N200. The bunch of N100 used to sell for N35.

“Customers aren’t coming as usual because they don’t have money to buy. As I speak, I haven’t sold a single bunch of N100 this morning.”

Abdulrahman Umar, a charcoal seller at Kwanan Malam Ya’u in Jos, said: “We usually display N50 and N100 leather-wrapped charcoal. We can’t package for N200 because people cannot afford it. That is why we concentrate on N50 or N100 packages. Despite packaging at lower prices, customers are still not coming.”

Amina Auwal, a housewife, said few months ago, a charcoal of N100 was enough to cook for her family; but now, she spent N400 daily.

Expert speaks

An oil and gas expert, Dr. Dauda Garuba said the consequence of people using an alternative means of cooking would not be palatable.

He said, “To ask what we can do about the high cost of cooking gas is to play innocent. What will happen is anybody’s guess. It is obviously not going to be palatable to the environment. We are going to be victims of deforestation and greenhouse gas emission. Temperature in the country is already hot with people talking of 41 degree Celcius in the North and 38 degree Celcius in the South.

“Never in the history of Nigeria have we been faced with this manner of economic hardship. The country is facing a huge energy crisis – from fossil fuel to electricity to cooking gas. The signs are ominous. Yet, energy is central to national questions and security. What is more fundamental is that power wielders are living a profligate life while asking the rest of the people to sacrifice for their luxury.”

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