The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers on Wednesday raised the alarm over the recent rise in price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly called cooking gas.
It said the cost of the commodity had been on the increase in the last two weeks and urged the government to intervene considering the current energy crisis in Nigeria as seen in the drop in power supply and petrol scarcity.
The NUPENG LPG retailers’ branch Chairman, Chika Umudu, said, “The branch union decries the return of LPG price rise which has led to an increment of up to N1,000 for 12.5kg size or N80 for 1kg within the last two weeks throughout the country.
“Consequently, the price of the average size cylinder (12.5kg) is now being sold at about N8500 from N7500 two weeks ago in Lagos and neighbouring states.
“Similarly, in parts of Northern Nigeria, South-East and South-South, the price has risen to N9000/N9500 from N8000/N8500. Prices at the depots have similarly risen to about N11m for 20 metric tonnes from N10m and less sold about two weeks ago.”
Umudu, who disclosed this in a statement, stated that the worrisome aspect of this development was that it had continued to rise on daily basis for weeks now but began to escalate in the last one week leading to significant increases in both depots and retail outlets.
“The union recalls that a similar price rise occurred in 2021 leading to the sale of 12.5kg gas up to thousand N10,000 in late November and early December 2021 amidst supply shortages,” he stated.
The branch chairman added, “The union, therefore, expects the government to come up with clear policy direction for the development of LPG in the country to forestall the ugly situation.”
Umudu stated that LPG being clean energy had steadily been embraced by low income earning Nigerians in the last seven years against previous years when it was seen as the preserve of the rich.
He said the NUPENG branch union considered it as an irony that such price rises were happening at the time when the government was, through policy statements, assuring Nigerians of an adequate supply of the product at affordable prices.
“Recall that between December 2020 and early months of 2021, the government through its various programmes inaugurated gas expansion programme often tagged ‘Decade of Gas’ aimed at not only making LPG available to all Nigerian homes irrespective of income level but also to expand the use of gas for other purposes such as automobile and public/private electric generation,” he stated.
Umudu said, “It supposes that enabling infrastructure would have been in place before the inauguration but the events immediately after the inauguration prove the contrary.
“This is not equally good at this time when efforts should be at the top gear to expand the use of LPG in the country as a means of reducing environmental pollution, deforestation and desertification.”
The union, therefore, charged the government to revisit its gas expansion programme and to involve all stakeholders in the process.
It also decried the situation where gas produced in Nigeria was priced in the United States dollars, adding that more local production should be encouraged to minimise if not eliminate importation.
The branch union said it was unfortunate that major marketers including international oil companies were prioritising retailing and related activities against their expected major role which was production.