By Matthew Denis, Maryam Solihu and Shakirat Shafii
Consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Kwara State have continued to groan over the astronomical increase in price of cooking gas, Pilot Business can report.
Investigations by this medium revealed that a 12.5 kg cylinder, which previously sold for N4,000 now goes for N5,200 in most parts of the metropolis while 6kg that was sold for N1,500 now sells at N2,600 and the 5kg now goes for N2,300 as against N1,000. Some consumers, who spoke to this medium, said the increase in price of the product has caused them hardship in recent time.
A housewife, Mrs. Bose Adeoye condemned the increase, which she said is exploitative.
She said, “I filled my cylinder with gas at N4,000 during the Christmas period but surprisingly I was told the price has gone up to N5,200 .
“I had no choice but to go back to the First Gas Plant to fill my cylinder. This practice of gas sellers is highly unfair to users, considering the economic situation in the country.
Another customer, Bola Opeyemi James, appealed to the relevant regulatory agencies to halt the practice by monitoring and checking the excesses of the sellers.
A resident at Unity road, Mrs Cynthia Lekan said that cooking gas price increased on December 24 at most of the sales points in the area.
She said, “I usually filled two cylinders ahead of the festive period because I know that sellers would sometimes create artificial scarcity and inflate the price.”
A retailer at Taiwo road, Mr. Michael Nwabueze, said that the price increase was a local problem which would phase out as more plants restock the product.
He said, “Yearly, because of the heavy cooking that takes place during Christmas period, there is usually high demand for gas.
“We try to ration it and sometimes increase price a little because we cannot restock till after the break when loading starts at the depots More so, it will still take some days before the product circulates, thereby forcing reduction in the price. ”
Similarly, following the escalating price of kerosene, residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital have resorted to cooking with charcoal, National Pilot can also report.
Recall that price of kerosene, which is the preferred choice of most housewives and food vendors for cooking, soared to N300 per litre, a situation which is causing untold hardship on the masses.
Findings by our interns, who also went round the metropolis, revealed that kerosene is now out of reach of most households, who now take solace in using charcoal, which appears to be relatively cheaper.
According to a resident of Osere, Mrs Fati Ayinla, “It is very sad that things are happening this way. Two weeks ago, kerosene was being sold for N200, now that the price has increased life is becoming difficult for those of us that are used to the commodity. Instead of spending N300 to buy a litre of kerosene to prepare food for my family, I have adjusted to charcoal because it is cheaper,” she said.
In her reaction, a student Alabi Kuburat said, “Before now, I cook with kerosene but now that the price has increased from N200 to N300, I have no choice than to switch to charcoal to prepare my meals”
Also, a vulcaniser, Tunde Alao said he no longer buys kerosene following the increase in price. According to him, he now uses charcoal for domestic cooking.
“I do buy kerosene for my wife to cook before but when I discovered that there is hike in price, I told my wife to buy a bag of charcoal. I would rather spend the extra cost for kerosene on other things,” he divulged while urging government to come to the aid of the masses by reducing the price of the commodity.
A kerosene vendor along Asa Dam road, Bunmi Joseph, however traced the increase in price of the commodity to the rise in exchange rate.
“The increase in price of kerosene is as a result of rise in dollar. Kerosene is sourced with dollar and definitely the price will go up,” she noted
Also, Mrs Iyabo Suleiman, who trades in the product, stressed that she has recorded low patronage as a result of increment in price.
“Since the hike in price of kerosene, customers no longer patronise me as they now prefer charcoal. We urge the federal government to find a lasting solution to the problem,” she said.
In the same vein, Alhaja Wosilat Marshal disclosed that she could no longer afford to sell the product because of its escalating price in recent weeks.
Mrs Folashade Okelola blamed government for being insensitive to the plight of the masses, saying kerosene that sold for N86 per litre before, now costs N300.
“Since the increase in price of the commodity, I have no alternative than to adopt use of charcoal.”
Speaking, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in Kwara State, Olanrewaju Okanlawon, ascribed the recurring hike in the price of the product to the instability in foreign exchange occasioned by the lingering economic recession.
He said, “The domestic cooking commodity is being imported and the situation will persist unless government encourage right measures to stabilise the nation’s economy.”
Okanlawon stressed that the effect of foreign exchange was not peculiar to petroleum sector but in every facet of the economy.
He, however, urged the federal government to come up with a timely intervention to stem the tide.