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Checking rising cost of cooking gas

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USE of domestic cooking gas in homes across Nigeria has gained wider popularity  in recent years. Experts have premised the high  patronage of the product in Nigeria on rise in  cost of kerosene which made gas  provide alternative to people of the  low income class initially but the product  had suddenly  gone out of reach since its total deregulation in 2015.

  STATISTICS show that “currently, in Nigeria, the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumption rate per capita is three kilogramme”. This is   according to Nigerian Liquified Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) data. This is however far from measuring up when compared to 12-30kg per capital consumption rate in industrialised societies. As a-matter-of-fact, what cannot be taken away going by NLPGA President, Nuhu Yakubu’s position is that “LPG industry growth in Nigeria has gone over 1,000 per cent between 2007 and 2017 alone.

  HOWEVER marginal the growth may seem in comparison with developed societies,  the mileage covered in Nigeria’s context is wide as had not been witnessed decades behind. Even at the dawn of the new  millennium (year 2000), the use of cooking gas across homes was yet to gather the popularity it wields in today’s Nigeria. Kerosene (Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) was up till the time, a dominant cooking option for households in the medium and low income earners’ homes.

  INTERESTINGLY, a switch in trend came into kitchen homes across country as kerosene price surged upwards such that a litre which in 2013 sold at N32 hit the sky-mark of N350 per litre in 2015. The hues and cries that greeted the increase did not help much as the product which was left to market forces on the said  policy of deregulation continued its upward movement to settle at N480 as at January 2022.

  CONSEQUENTLY, users had to weigh options and without persuasions, many opted for the use of  cooking gas. Shockingly, while users were settling down for the  cooking gas regime as their preferred  cooking culture, an unprecedented rise in cost hit the commodity and neither the gas nor the kerosene is now  within reach any longer. From N1200 per 12.5kg cylinder of gas in 2013 to N8850 in 2022, not many homes can afford the commodity anymore.

  THE high cost of gas poses obvious danger to society.  One of the problems  being environmental hazard as falling back to fossil fuel (charcoal, firewood and coal) by many homes – a culture they had long lost touch with can lead to a lot of  havoc in  society.

  STUDIES have shown that carbon emissions contribute immensely to global warming – a situation that compounds the world’s environmental crises. Part of the crises is diseases outbreak as well as desert encroachments. In reactivating fossil fuel usage, some trees inevitably have to go down for firewoods to be available in homes. Without doubt, the act can easily promote deforestation and further grow to desert encroachment.

 BESIDES the  obvious inability to engender a cleaner environment, reliance on burning fossil fuel is  a potential precursor for  fire outbreaks in the society. This is not dismissing the fact that gas-induced fire incidents equally occur in homes and can even be more devastating, but homes  that  can keep to the required safety measures of using gas for their cooking run lower risk of fire disasters.

  GIVEN that Nigeria produces natural gas in large quantities, it  also apt to advance the economics debate that   cooking gas usage portends a  growth in the country’s economy.  In the past two years, Nigeria has maintained an average of 1.1 million metric tonnes of gas supply per year, with 64 per cent sourced through importation, according to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics data. Considering a population of not less than 40million homes out of over 200million people having to rely on gas usage, it affirms without much logic that demand for the commodity will remain appreciable at all times.

  THE challenges of gas flaring can as well be solved when available gas, instead of being wasted in flaring,  is utilised as supplies to homes for cooking.  This will by  extension reduce gas flares that contribute highly to global warming.

  BUT these benefits are threatened by the spiking prices of cooking gas in a country  that is one of the world’s biggest troves of natural gas. When homes struggle to  access the ‘hard-to-get’ food to eat these days, getting  the gas to cook should be least of their worries.

  NATIONAL Light believes that there is a need to make cooking gas not only available to Nigerian users but affordable. This will be a catalyst for improved efficiency in the country’s food  chain as a healthy society is potentially a productive one. Finding a way to localise gas production will help reduce cost, especially at a time naira is not having a favourable exchange against the dollar and other foreign currencies.

  IT IS equally our considered view that notwithstanding the call for cooking gas availability and affordability in homes, where there are residencies, the need cannot suffice for indiscriminate citing of gas refilling plants in neighbourhoods as this has caused many fire havocs and brought untold pains to citizens as well.

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