Over the last few months, the price of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas has risen from between N384 and N400 per kg to between N700 and N800 per kg.
What this means is that the price of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of gas is now between N8,750 and N9,500 from between N4,800 and N5,000 it was earlier in the year.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) had attributed the rising cost of LPG in the domestic market to insufficient production of the commodity by the country.
Similarly, marketers of the product predicted that 12.5kg of the product may sell at N10,000 by December.
The marketers attributed the low supply and consequent high cost of the commodity to the recently introduced import charges and Value Added Tax (VAT) on the product and called on the government to review it.
“Early in the year a 20-metric ton of gas was selling for below N5m but today, the same tonnage sells for N10.2m. As long as there is that supply shortage, the available quantity and the dynamics of supply-demand will keep pushing the price higher,” they stated.
Unorthodox ways of beating the gas price hike
21st CENTURY CHRONICLE observed that Nigerians, following the high cost of the commodity, have resorted to all manner of measures, some unorthodox, in a bid to avoid spending too much on cooking fuel.
Some of the now attractive energy sources include firewood, charcoal, sawdust, kerosene, and diesel, among others, which cost has also began to rise.
Checks by this newspaper showed that a bag of charcoal is now sold for between N2,800 and N3,000 in Benue State as against N2,000 and N2,500 a few months ago while in Kaduna, a bag of charcoal is now sold for N4,000.
A pensioner in Benue State, Doowuese Mayange said the high cost of cooking gas, coupled with the non-payment of monthly pension, has made her device means of coping and she now uses three energy sources for cooking, namely; gas, firewood and charcoal.
“Since the increase in the cost of gas, all large family meals are now cooked with firewood and transferred into smaller pots or freezer bowls and when we want to eat, we either warm it with the gas cooker or microwave as the case may be.
“Charcoal, derived from the firewood in addition to the one we buy is used on the Abacha stove for purposes such as boiling bathing water. One has to be ingenious to survive the difficult times and that is what I am doing,” she stated.
Abubakar Ibrahim, a graduate of University of Abuja, told 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE that when he was in the hostel, he used kerosene stove but started using gas after he left school and has come to realise that cooking with gas is more efficient, cheaper and faster.
“With the high cost of gas now, what I do is to augment with my electric stove when there is power supply rather than returning to the use of kerosene which is not cheap either,” he stated.
Ibrahim said despite the hike in the price of cooking gas, people should still try to cope and continue using it because it is clean energy and more efficient than firewood or kerosene stove.
Special fuel: Mixing kerosene with diesel
In a chat with Joseph Akan (not real name), he said since the increase in the cost of gas, his family had reverted to using kerosene stove but that rather than kerosene, they use a special fuel made from a blend of kerosene and diesel, and this had been helping him save money.
When probed about the safety of such a measure, he said, “we have experts that do the mixing and they have the right measurements so it doesn’t burn as fast as only kerosene and can last even longer than the cooking gas.
“When gas and kerosene are well mixed, it produces only blue flames which make cooking faster without making your pot dirty.”
Emphasising the efficacy of diesel as an efficient energy source, he cited the example of security officers on major highways at night, saying, “They use a little amount of diesel in a can which they use to light up the checkpoints and it burns for a very long time.”
Surge in gas prices erodes our profit – Food vendor
A small business owner in the food and catering services sector, said the high cost of gas was taking a toll on her business and eroding profit so she now augments with charcoal.
“Before now, we were only using gas but presently, we supplement with charcoal but the cost of charcoal is also rising very fast because many people are turning to it,” she stated.
Impact disastrous for Nigeria- Experts
A nature enthusiast, Christiana Dogo, while decrying the situation, expressed fears that the situation will lead to an increase in tree felling, erosion, contribute to global warming and erode whatever gains the country may have made in its efforts to contain climate change.
She recalled that in 2014, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration approved the purchase of 750,000 units of clean cooking stoves worth N9.2 billion under the National Clean Cooking Scheme for distribution to rural women nationwide free.
“This spending was part of efforts by the government to discourage the use of firewood and other unclean energy sources.
The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) also distributed clean stoves some years back to discourage rural women from using firewood as source of domestic energy.
In February 2020, the acting director, Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, Tiamiyu Oladele, announced plans by the federal government to plant 30 million tree seedlings to accelerate afforestation in the country.
“All these efforts will be in vain and the gains if any, eroded, as many people have gone back to the era of using firewood and charcoal, both of which are derived from felled trees. This is not good for us as a country,” Dogo added.
Meanwhile, marketers of clean cooking and charcoal stoves have taken advantage of the situation and are making brisk business from sales of different bands of stoves.
Checks by 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE show that modern charcoal stoves cost between N9,500 and N45,000, depending on the size.