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Price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), otherwise known as cooking gas, remained astronomically high despite the resolution of the tax-induced row between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by a High Court in Lagos State.
The protracted legal battle forced NIMASA to detain vessels of NLNG at the Bonny Terminal preventing them from lifting LPG until it settled unpaid levies and other charges that run into billions of naira.
Investigations by Daily Sun in Lagos metropolis revealed that the 12.5kg gas cylinder, which hitherto sold for between N2,500 and N2,800 now goes for over N4,000 and may hit N7,000 soon if government fails to intervene.
Gas dealers who spoke with Daily Sun said the product remained scarce for about a month running, stressing that the price might go beyond the current level if the scarcity persisted.
Wale Olowojoba, a major gas dealer in Ikeja said all his supply channels had run out of stock: “We thought the row between these two bodies will be resolved in a short while but it actually took weeks. Now all major gas dealers have run out of stock. It’s a serious matter and the price is increasing almost everyday. The effect of the resolution of the tax war is yet to be felt.”
To meet local demand for the commodity, Nigerian importers and marketers of LPG had reportedly stormed the neighbouring Niger Republic to purchase the product.
Though NLNG accounts for 150,000 metric tonnes of LPG yearly from its Bonny Island plant in Rivers State, the blockade of NLNG ships, LPG terminals in Lagos have exhausted their supply leading to artificial scarcity. This has left dealers with no option than to import from Niger Republic.
Daily Sun gathered that 10 of the companies appointed as off-takers to lift the product in vessels and sell to the local market had paid for the products but are yet to receive them as the post-rift bliss between NIMASA and NLNG is yet to translate into adequate product supply to meet local needs.
"As we speak, none of the terminals have supply in Lagos since NLNG was not allowed to sail from Bonny to Lagos and the owners have paid for their products to be supplied here in Lagos. The prices of the little stock left has since sky-rocketed. NIPCO will run out of stock very soon, if they have not already run out, and we are left with the option to import a product we are abundantly blessed with. But we hope that the Federal Government will relax the rules guiding the import."