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Cooking Gas: Consumers Resort to Firewood Over Rising Cost

Some Nigerians have vowed to resort to firewood and charcoal if prices of cooking gas continue to soar.

The consumers said in separate interviews that they could no longer cope with the situation as it was taking a toll on their lives.
They called on the Federal Government to address the current hike in the price of cooking gas to ease the sufferings on the people.

Checks in some gas plants in Kwara, Nasaraea, Abuja Anambra, Ebonyi, Oyo, Ondo, Enugu, Taraba and Edo states showed that the price of cooking gas had increased by more than 50 per cent.

A 12.5kg cylinder which was sold for N6,800 in September, had increased to between N7,800 and N8,000 depending on locations.

It was also observed that a 6kg cylinder, that previously sold for N2,900, had gone up to N4,200 in less than a month.

A manager of one of the gas plants in Awka, who pleaded anonymity, said that the hike was as a result of the current devaluation of the naira.

“You know gas is refined and imported into the country, therefore, the price is dominated by the dollar. So, the more the naira is devalued, the higher the prices will continue to rise,” he said.

Some consumers blamed the government for its inability to control the price of cooking gas in the open market.

A resident of a gas plant in Awka, who identified himself as Mr Smart Okongi, said that the continued rise in the price of cooking gas was alarming, adding that the increase was being felt by many Nigerians.

“As a civil servant with no increment in salary, it is now becoming very difficult keeping up with the everyday rise in prices of food stuff, transportation, rent and now cooking gas.

“This development is sad because our country is endowed with natural gas. I also blame the Federal Government for its inability to control the price in the open market.

”I appeal to the government to reduce or have a fixed price for cooking gas to alleviate our sufferings,” Okongi said.

Another resident, Mrs Helen Aniaso, a caterer, said that the daily rise in price of cooking gas was impacting on her business negatively.

“It is frustrating because for every time we go to refill, the price increases. It is affecting my business in terms of productivity and profit.

“We have increased the prices of the food we sell just to meet up, but we are losing customers because many of them cannot afford to pay.

“It is not also cheaper resorting to kerosene, charcoal, or firewood because their prices too have increased.

“The government should come to our aid before our sources of livelihood collapse, ” she said.

Mr Adolphus Egwu, a businessman in Onitsha, expressed fears that the price of 12.5kg gas cylinder might increase to N10,000 by December if the government did not act quickly.

“This practice of gas sellers is highly unfair to users, considering the economic situation in the country. Because of this hike, a plate of food rose from about N400 or N500 to N800 or N1,000?

“I appeal to the relevant regulatory agencies, to halt this practice by monitoring and checking the excesses of the sellers,” he said.

It is a similar situation in all the states in the zone as consumers groan over the rising cost of cooking gas.

Some gas dealers in the zone blamed the development to increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) to the petroleum products, high demand of gas and naira devaluation.

According to an Umuahia resident in Abia, I now use charcoal as an alternative because a 7kg of gas that I used to refill with less than N2000 now goes for over N4,000, that is at the rate of N640 per kg.

A financial expert, Mr Timothy Okoroafor, said the inflation rate posed a serious challenge and was largely responsible for increased spending on food items and cooking gas.

“What do you expect when we are only consuming and not producing as a nation?

“The monetary and other fiscal policies of the government do not help matters.

“There is also no price control.

“Our government should come up with some interventions and provide an enabling environment for industries to thrive,” Okoroafor said.

On high cost of food items, Mr Jerry Okenwa, who sells food items at Isigate, said the prices of food would continue to soar because the local production could meet the ever increasing demand.

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