Marketers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), have raised alarm over indiscriminate hike in the price of the product by 75 per cent in the last two weeks.
Executive Secretary of the association, Mr Bassey Essien, raised the alarm on the arbitrary increase in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
He said within a five-day period, the price of a 20 metric tonnes of LPG which sold for N3.15 million, suddenly increased to N3.5 million and N3.9 million.
“A few hours thereafter, the price moved to N4.2 million despite the fact that same product has been in the storage of these terminals when price was even N3.5 million, so why the sudden upsurge,” he said.
He said the price hike would ultimately dovetail into high prices to the consumers who unfortunately are also caught up in the web of price hikes.
“At this time of the year in the past, price hikes used to be attributable to winter season, increased demand for heating energy and international price index.
“This we have consistently questioned why a product in abundance in our country should become such a victim of any slightest issue occurring internationally.
“Efforts to extract the cause of the sudden and hourly price increase from the terminals have not been met with any positive response.
“At one of the terminals, there was an outright denial of any price increase; however, price of LPG has been moved from N3.9 million to N4.2 million. A representative of the company insisted rather that the company had no stock.
“But when asked to explain the sudden price increase to N4.2 million when company had no stock, he was evasive,” he said.
Essien said it became necessary to react to the current price hike of cooking gas in spite of the efforts of the government and stakeholders to deepen the usage of LPG in the country.
“The association is hereby disassociating itself and members from the antics of the current price hike and therefore maintaining that the price increase is not the handiwork of marketers, but rather that of the terminal owners, importers and the NLNG.
“Marketers are equally bemoaning the situation as the development has adversely affected business planning.
“If the trend is not halted immediately, the price of a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas may soon sell for over N6,000 and well out of the purchasing power of the average consumer.
“This brings to questioning when the issue of product availability will ever be holistically addressed. We cannot deepen the use of LPG if availability of the product is not guaranteed,’’ he said.
Essien said there was urgent need to reverse the price hike.
He, however, called on the NLNG to flood the market with cooking gas since they had the capacity to do so and increase the frequency with which the vessels deliver LPG from Bonny to the terminals, particularly in the Lagos axis.
He said NLNG should supply LPG to other coastal terminals outside Lagos to reduce the inherent pressure on the terminals in the Southwest.