The rising cost of cooking gas – Thisday

Government should intervene to bring down costs

The astronomical rise in the cost of cooking gas is posing is a serious problem for consumers. As of today, a 12.5 kg of gas is sold for no less than N10,000. At the same time, a 20 metrics tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is sold for N11.6 million as against its market price of N3.8 million in January this year. And as it is always the consequence, it is the common people that are paying for the effects of this headwind. Today, many families are desperately resorting to cooking with firewood and charcoal as alternative means of energy as they could hardly afford the prevailing prices of gas.

Apparently mindful of the situation, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said recently that the corporation is working towards increasing the supply of LPG (cooking gas), in a bid to force down its price. “Two things are in play; one is the supply, and the other is the international price of gas. It (price) moves with the price of every other petroleum product including crude oil and its derivatives. So it reflects what is happening in the international market,” said Kyari. “What we are doing is to increase supply. Once the supply is increased the prices will come down.”

The escalating price of gas inevitably leads to increase in the cost of food items in the market as people’s purchasing power continues to dwindle in the face of surging prices of essential commodities. Meanwhile, in a country where many households can hardly afford Kerosene for cooking, the option of resorting to firewood should not be encouraged as it contributes to the destruction of the environment. It is important that the problem be expeditiously tackled by the federal government, given its implications.

However, it must be admitted that the gas crisis is another evidence of government’s failure to fulfill its obligations to the public. Otherwise, it is beyond imagination that the cost of cooking gas should be soaring beyond the means of the ordinary folk in a country reputed to have the ninth largest deposit of proven gas in the world. Sadly, a large volume of this gas that should have been put into use is flared into the atmosphere every day while the country resorts to importing about 60 per cent of the gas required for domestic consumption from Algeria, the Americas, and Central Africa. Invariably, it is the shortfall in domestic production that can only be bridged by importation that is driving the demand for forex and sending the price of cooking gas beyond the reach of the consumers.

The escalating cost of food and cooking gas has prompted the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to express concerns for the fate of poor families struggling to survive the prevailing socio-economic hardships. The union attributed the prevailing gas crisis to devaluation of the naira coupled with the inconsistent policy of the government.

Government should give drastic attention to the gas crisis in the country by granting concessions to importers and people that want to invest in the domestic gas production business. We need to see a lot of commitment to all the international pacts on climate change, including the recent ones in Paris and Glasgow aimed at reducing the use of coal, firewood and encouraging greenhouse gas emissions. Also, all states of the federation should emulate the initiative of Lagos State government which recently established a 40 metric tonnes LPG plant that will cater for 20,000 homes through provision of cheaper and affordable gas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

x

Check Also

South Africa parliament fire suspect had explosives – Prosecutor

A man who allegedly set fire to South Africa's parliament was caught with explosives, prosecutors say.