Cooking Gas: House Of Reps Mandates Committee To Probe Hike In Price

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The House of Representatives has mandated the committees on Gas Resources and Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to investigate the reasons for the scarcity and incessant hike in the price of liquefied Petroleum gas (cooking gas).

According to the House’s resolutions on Wednesday, the committees would report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.

The House resolution followed a motion moved by Hon. Sergius Ogun who expressed shock that the price of cooking gas has been subjected to incessant hikes with the various players in the sector trading blames and ending up doing nothing to stem the rise in price which he said is usually preceded by the scarcity of the product.

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“The cooking gas is sold to marketers and paid for in naira, unlike other petroleum products which are priced in United States dollars and are therefore subject to foreign exchange fluctuations which sometimes affect the supply and availability of the products.”

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He further explained that in 2016, the price of 12.5 kilogrammes, of the gas increased from N2,700 to between N3,500 and N4,000 depending on the vendor and the same quantity of the product is currently selling for between N5,000 to N6,000.

The motion scaled through when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

Prior to the Yuletide season, 12.5kg of cooking gas was selling at an average price of N3,000 but currently, it is selling at an average price N5,000 to N6,000 per 12.5kg cylinder.

The Executive Secretary of the National Association of LPG Marketers (NALPGAM), Bassey Essien, told newsmen that the reason for the hike was due to the shortage in supply.

He said before December 2016, a tanker of LPG was sold at N4.2 million but in December, a tanker was sold at N6 million from the Bonny terminal.

“We have been on the issue of pricing for a while now. They are selling to us from the Bonny terminal at the international price when we are actually consuming it locally,” he said.

The Federal Government had instructed the NLNG to dedicate 250,000 tonnes for the domestic market, but the issue of pricing has always been subjected to controversy.

NLNG commenced supply of LPG to the Nigerian domestic market in 2007. That first NLNG LPG cargo into the domestic market was discharged at Apapa jetty on December 26.

At the moment, NLNG has signed Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with 15 off-takers (all Nigerian companies) in which the company is committed to delivering up to 250,000 tonnes of cooking gas into the Nigerian market annually, in line with the commitment to grow the domestic LPG market in Nigeria.

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The LPG Domestic Supply scheme, which has been an outstanding success, has led to a significant reduction in the end-user price of LPG in the domestic market.

However, the issue of pricing is still an issue the regulators may have to look into to address the perennial scarcity that Nigerians face annually.