Stakeholders cooking gas business under the aegis of Nigeria LPG Association have said that despite the nationwide campaign on the benefit of using cooking gas over other modes of cooking, over 90 percent of Nigerian homes do not have Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, thus exposing them to health hazards, characterized by the use of dirty cooking fuels like kerosene, wood, among others.
The association argued that out of the 30 million homes in Nigeria, only three million has LPG (cooking gas) cylinders.
In the latest report of the association, it described the development as being capable of sustaining the high death rate in the country linked to dirty fuel usage.
It therefore, stressed the need for an intervention by government and other stakeholders to ameliorate the situation and drive the influx of additional LPG cylinders and other accessories, considering the level of poverty that is currently ravaging the country.
The President, NLPGA, Nuhu Yakubu, in an interview, said though the LPG industry in Nigeria had grown by over 1,000 per cent between 2007 and 2017, the level of adoption was still low given the huge number of home that lacked the basic entry requirement for usage.
According to him, the exponential growth seen in Nigeria LPG-wise had been anchored on private capital and sponsorship, which are not sufficient to give the adoption the required penetration given the country’s population.
Citing development of LPG in some neighboring African countries, he said in Ghana, about 70 per cent of cars run on LPG, which is a strong bashing for Nigeria, which is still struggling to cook its food leveraging LPG.
Yakubu said: “LPG is the most diversified gas in the world, and Nigeria has enormous reserves of the commodity coupled with the high level of production. We should be the ones driving this innovation, but the reverse is the case.
“Currently in Nigeria, the LPG consumption rate per capita is three kilogramme, which is far below when compared to 12-30kg per capital for industrial set-ups.
“There should be deliberate actions by government, policy-wise, to trigger growth because LPG infrastructure is expensive, characterized by high cost of entry for consumers (homes). This is the chief reason why it is not getting to the hinterlands.”
He said if the exchange rate of the naira was not dropping, the price of LPG, as a commodity, would have dropped in the last 10 years, but said the fall in the value of the naira remained the reason the product is currently seen as expensive.
The NLPGA boss said: “If not for the worsening exchange rate of the naira to the dollar, the normal 12.5kg gas should be selling for less than N1,000 now; the same quantum was sold for N3,000 10 years ago.
“Despite the multiple devaluation of the naira, LPG cost for the normal 12.5kg-size is still less than N4,000.”
Yakubu stressed that the LPG industry needed palliatives, and not subsidy, noting that subsidy had not helped Nigeria in any way, but has continued to create fund management problem for the country.
He said: “We keep subsidizing petrol for the rich in Nigeria, who are the biggest consumers of the product. If a sizeable portion of the subsidy fund is used to finance infrastructure development in the LPG sector, we will see more Nigerians using the product for diverse purposes, which will improve their health status, reduce pressure on their finances and make the overall economy better.
“The two critical sectors of the economy that can emancipate Nigerians from poverty, that is power and petroleum, are bedeviled by subsidy. So, we don’t advocate for subsidy. Owing to the fact that LPG is an economic enabler, we call for government intervention in the areas of fiscal incentives for cylinder manufacturers, import duties reduction, Value-Added Tax (VAT) removal, incentivising cylinder distribution in Nigeria, among others.”
Considering the huge gap in LPG usage, especially in the northern part of the country, the 1st Vice President, NLPGA, Gaylon Duru, said the association was poised to take its awareness campaign to the area leveraging its 8th LPG annual conference and exhibition in Abuja on November 29 and 30, with the theme: “LPG Diversification: Expanding LPG Frontiers in Nigeria”.
According to him, the policy of deregulation has helped the industry significantly to get to its present level, and the need to share the experience to attract more investors and impact other African countries cannot be overemphasized.
Beyond cooking, Duru said it was germane for Nigerians to see the other benefits of LPG, adding that the wide usage of the product remained a catalyst to economic, health and environmental prosperity.