“To purchase a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in a month, minimum wage earners must now spend a whopping 23.3% of their monthly wage…”
The cost of filling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas has increased from an average of N6,200 in July 2021 to N7,000 as of September 2021. This is about a 13% increase in the price of cooking gas. This was confirmed by our analyst after conducting interviews with several dealers and consumers, who lamented over what they described as a progressive hike in the price of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, across major cities in Nigeria.
Some of them had expressed concerns in July 2021, when Nairametrics did its last LPG price survey, that the cost of cooking gas was spiralling out of the reach of consumers, predicting that the price may hit its current N7,000 range. Even worse, now that the commodity is being sold between N7,000 and N7,200 across major cities, dealers warn that it is not yet ‘Uhuru,’ as further price increments are expected in October and no one can exactly tell what the price would be at the year’s end.
Some LPG users who spoke to Nairametrics in separate interviews complained about the development stating that they are now being forced to switch to alternative sources of cooking fuel.
Joy Bright, a consumer who is based in Oke Afa, Ogun State, expressed her fears over the rising cost of cooking gas in the area from N6,200 per 12.5 kg to N7,200 within 6 weeks.
“I was not surprised when the attendant told me the price because I had said in July that the cost will rise further.
“I had no choice but to buy it, as other alternatives are not options for me. I would not have felt it much if the power supply was regular,” she said.
Another consumer in Lagos, who simply referred to herself as Glory, told Nairametrics that she refilled her 12.5kg cylinder with N7,000 on Thursday. According to her, the rising cost of gas will have a severe impact on the average Nigerian and one of such is the cost of food bought from vendors.
“The cost of food items like rice, beans and even garri has been on the increase for months. This frequent hike in the cost of cooking gas will make matters worse, as several food vendors now use gas for their cooking.”
In one of the NNPC filling stations in Lagos, the LPG attendant who preferred to remain anonymous informed Nairametrics that the price of the product is still to increase further in the coming months. He also lamented that many consumers could no longer afford to buy a full 12.5kg worth of gas into their cylinders.
He said, “Many customers are now buying the amount that they can afford to pay for, even when their cylinders are 12.5kg. That woman over there, for example (he points to a woman exiting the station) just refilled only 6kg because that’s what she can afford to pay for. We have seen many of them like that since this price hike began.”
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Nairametrics had reported in July 2021, when the National Chairman of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Branch of NUPENG, Mr Chika Umudu, explained that the price hike was due to the country’s high dependence on importation of LPG.
He said, “As the dollar is appreciating against the naira, the price of LPG is increasing.”
According to him, the Nigerian LNG Limited, which accounts for more than 40% of the LPG supply volumes in the country, should be supplying the domestic market in accordance with the demand, rather than having a fixed quantity per annum.
“The increase in cooking gas price, which started last December, doesn’t speak well of the policy direction of the government.
“As much as I will not advocate for subsidy the way it is being done with petrol, I think there are ways the government could make cooking gas affordable to Nigerians,” he added.
A source in the Nigerian Association of LPG Marketers, explained that there was a need for frequent supply of LPG by the NLNG, adding that it was only one vessel they (NLNG) had, and it supplied Lagos and Port Harcourt; so the replacement cycle took longer.
He further told Nairametrics: “Since the country depends more on imports for the commodity, the demand for scarce foreign exchange by marketers to import the product will cause price hikes.
“There is a need for the domestic supply to be increased so that we can depend less on LPG importation.”
The incessant hike in the price of cooking gas coupled with the dwindling purchasing power of the average Nigerian does not bode well for the continued adoption of LPG by both rural and urban dwellers, and it is outrightly counterproductive to the government’s widely publicised LPG policy.
Considering that LPG is environment-friendly, convenient, and safe, there is a need for government’s intervention to make the product more affordable to most Nigerians.