Gas retailers across Nigeria have issued a stern warning, stating that if the Federal Government does not take action to regulate the activities of terminal owners, the cost of a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas could skyrocket to N18,000.
In an interview with Punch, Olatunbosun Oladapo, the President of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, raised concerns about the alarming increase in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.
Oladapo expressed his dismay over the “astronomically high” prices of gas at terminals, citing a sudden increment from the previous range of N9-N10 million per 20 metric tons to the current N14 million per 20 metric tons. He further warned that if the government does not step in promptly to monitor and regulate the activities of terminal owners, prices could surge even higher, potentially reaching N18 million per metric ton by December. This alarming trend could translate to a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas costing as much as N18,000.
The primary reason cited for this sharp price increase is the alleged exploitation by terminal owners who have taken advantage of the high foreign exchange rates to hike prices, disproportionately affecting the already burdened masses. Oladapo emphasized that terminal owners have no justifiable reason for these price increases, especially since the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) continues to supply the market with gas.
He also shed light on the role of NLNG, indicating that it has increased its price from N6 million to N8 million. Consequently, terminal owners and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) have used this as a pretext to raise prices to N14 million. In this scenario, the impending price hike is attributed to NLNG and terminal owners rather than the retailers themselves.
Oladapo pointed out the consequences of these price hikes on ordinary citizens, highlighting that the cost of gas has become increasingly unaffordable for minimum wage earners. Many individuals are resorting to traditional alternatives such as firewood and charcoal for cooking due to the escalating gas prices.
Moreover, he expressed disappointment in the recent promises made by terminal owners during their visit to President Tinubu, where they pledged to collaborate with the government to improve the lives of the people. However, their actions since then seem to contradict these promises, leaving questions about the pledged palliatives and support for the masses unanswered.
This situation underscores the urgent need for the Federal Government to address the rising gas prices and ensure that the burdens on the Nigerian population are eased, especially amid economic challenges. The fate of affordable cooking gas and the well-being of the people hang in the balance, with December looming as a critical juncture if corrective measures are not swiftly implemented.