Marketers of cooking gas have raised alarm over the outrageous steady inflation in the price of the Ligud Petroleum Gas (LPG) from N2.4 million per 20 metric tonnes on Wednesday last week to N3.5 million on Monday, May 31.
Mr. Bassey Essien, who is the Executive Secretary of the marketers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Liquid Petroleum Gas Marketers, told journalists in Lagos yesterday that with the artificial hike in the price of 20 Metric tonne cylinder, the price of 12.5kg cylinder had also gone up from N2,700 between N3,500 and N4,000 within one week.
In his statement to correspondents, Essein explained that unlike the prices of other petroleum products, which are paid in dollars, the price of LPG is not paid in dollars, hence there is no reason for the price hike.
“Gas is supposed to be readily available in all the major terminals in Lagos but today, only one company has gas because some people have hijacked the NLNG domestic supply scheme. On Thursday last week, they increased the price from N2.4 million per 20 MT to N2.6 million.
“On Friday, it was increased to N3 million and on Monday, it was increased to N3.5 million and if nothing is done, they will increase it to N4 million. The company did the same thing last year to exploit Nigerians when it was the only company that had LPG but when other companies received product, it quickly crashed the price to N1.9 million.”
Essien called on the federal government to intervene and stop the hike and end the hardship being experienced by LPG users. He further argued that the current scarcity of foreign exchange in the country has no effect on LPG because the product is produced locally and ‘not imported’.
He showered accusations on the foreign company for exploiting Nigerians with the connivance of PPMC. According to him the artificial hike could discourage people from using LPG, thus hampering federal government’s efforts to ensure cleaner environment.
The Executive Secretary said NAFGAS and PPMC terminals are mostly used for distribution of LPG while other terminals are sparingly used.
“As a result of this, most terminals are deliberately starved of gas. This means that marketers have no choice but to buy LPG from PPMC and NAFGAS terminals at a higher price. In the light of this, the two firms are controlling the LPG market, by determining who to sell LPG to.
“Often times, few marketers have benefitted, while others have not. From all indications, a monopoly has been overtly or covertly created in the LPG market; whenever a system is monopolistic in nature, few individuals or firms dominate business activities.”
Essien insisted that the company wanted to hide under deregulation to create artificial scarcity and hike price to shortchange Nigerians.