Government intervention is urgently needed to stem the tide of acute shortage of gas cylinders in the country, which is threatening cooking gas consumption, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, has said.
The National President of NALPGAM, Mr. Basil Ogbuanu, argued that except the Federal Government intervened and ensured that gas cylinders are available and affordable to Nigerians; the consumption level may continue to drop while kerosene also remains unavailable to the masses.
According to him, â€œwe all know that you can use gallons to buy kerosene, but you need cylinders to buy cooking gas. These cylinders are not enough in the country. We are pleading with the federal government to use just 20 percent of the money spent on kerosene subsidy to make cylinders available.
â€œThe companies producing cylinders locally have all folded up due to unfavourable government policy and inadequate power supply. Now, we import all cylinders that are being used in the country. A standard cylinder of 12.5kg will cost about N8500 in the market which an average Nigerians cannot afford.
â€œInstead of the Federal Government reducing the import duties payable on imported cylinders, it rather increased it from five per cent to 20 per cent.â€
He urged the government to follow the example of Indonesia, which made gas cylinders available to its citizens at affordable prices.
On the issue of pricing, Ogbuanu also appealed to the federal government to intervene and ensure that the Nigerian LNG Ltd., NLNG, supplied cooking gas at domestic rate rather than the current international price at which the company is selling to domestic consumers.
â€œThe issue of domestic pricing is another factor militating against increasing consumption pattern of cooking gas in Nigeria. Although, we recorded an increase in consumption rate last year. This is because Nigerians consumed 170000 metric tonnes of cooking gas as at December, 2013.
â€œThis is an improvement from the previous less than 150,000 metric tonnes consumption figure. This has prompted the NLNG to increase supplies from 150000 to 250000 metric tonnes per annum. Before, the product was inadequately supplied but now the product is available and not affordable,â€ he noted.
Ogbuanu said: â€œit is becoming clear that subsidy payment on kerosene is not sustainable. If the Federal Government can use only 20 per cent of what it is using on kerosene to support cooking gas consumption, it will deepen the market.â€
Also speaking, the Secretary of NALPGAM,Mr. GbengaFalusi, said there is the need to sensitise stakeholders that governmentâ€™s sincere commitment to LPG consumption is highly required and not debatable.
â€œLPG will boost GDP, provide employment and create friendly environment without emissions. We commend NLNG for its timely intervention in LPG supplies, but we want the company to fast track its West African gas price index it is developing,â€ he said.