Crisis Looms as Cooking Gas Prices Set to Soar to N18,000 by December, Retailers Sound Alarm
Gas retailers in Nigeria have issued a stark warning that the cost of a 12.5kg cooking gas cylinder could skyrocket to N18,000 by December unless the Federal Government takes action to curb the actions of terminal owners. Speaking exclusively to The PUNCH on Sunday, Olatunbosun Oladapo, President of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, expressed deep concern about the alarming price surge of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, commonly known as cooking gas, at terminals. He revealed that prices have surged from a range of N9-N10 million per 20 metric tons to an astounding N14 million per 20 metric tons.
Olatunbosun cautioned that if the Federal Government fails to intervene promptly and restrain the activities of these terminal owners, the price could surge even higher, potentially reaching N18 million per metric ton, resulting in a 12.5kg cylinder costing as much as N18,000.
The root cause of this staggering price hike, according to Olatunbosun, is terminal owners capitalizing on the pretext of heightened foreign exchange rates to exacerbate the suffering of the Nigerian population. He emphatically stated that there is no justifiable reason for such an exorbitant increment, especially considering that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited continues to supply the market.
Olatunbosun further explained, “NNPCL currently takes 59 per cent of the gas produced by NLNG, although NLNG has also increased its price from N6 million to N8 million. Now, because NLNG has increased the price, NNPCL and terminal owners have raised it to N14 million. The impending price hike is not the fault of retailers but squarely rests on NLNG and terminal owners. As of last week, 1kg was N800 at the terminal; now it is N1,200 and could potentially reach N1,500 by December if urgent measures are not taken.”
He lamented the dire consequences for ordinary citizens who would find it increasingly difficult to afford gas, pushing many towards traditional alternatives like firewood and charcoal. Olatunbosun also highlighted the apparent disparity between promises made by terminal owners during a recent meeting with President Tinubu’s administration and their subsequent actions. He questioned the whereabouts of pledged palliatives and buses for the masses, which are yet to materialize.
This issue had previously been reported by The PUNCH in August, forecasting an impending hike in cooking gas prices. Subsequently, prices have surged, with a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas reaching as high as N10,000.
While gas terminal owners lack a formal association, spokespersons for NavGas and Nipco Plc, Friday Agwu and Askay Kumar, attributed the price hike to forex fluctuations and international market dynamics. Kumar, in a telephone conversation with The PUNCH, denied knowledge of any sales at N1,200 per kg but declined to disclose the landing cost. Friday attributed the price increase to forex challenges and the impact of rising crude oil prices on the international market.
The situation remains fluid, with many anxiously awaiting government intervention to alleviate the mounting burden on consumers.