By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) on Tuesday said the scarcity of cooking gas would soon ease as two vessels were discharging at Apapa Terminal.
Mr Bassey Essein, Executive Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that a vessel of the Nigeria LNG Ltd. had discharged 13,000 tonnes of LPG at the Lagos Jetty.
According to him, another vessel has berthed on the high sea awaiting directive from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) before commencing discharge.
“It is expected that when the gas is discharged at the Lagos Port, it will be sufficient and reduced the price of cooking gas nationwide.
“The LPG product pricing is always guided by availability of product.
“The fact remains that LPG vessel costs a lot of money to charter, with attendant high demurrage if not discharged on time to allow the vessel sail out,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the General Manager, External Relations, Nigeria LNG, Mr Kudo Eresia-Eke, confirmed in a statement that the vessel discharged 13,000 tonnes of LPG at Lagos Jetty at the weekend.
According to him, the vessel is scheduled to return to NLNG’s facility in Bonny to re-load.
He said NLNG would continue in its efforts to ensure adequate supply and price stability in the market.
Eresia-Eke said that its board recently approved an increase in the LPG dedicated for supply to the domestic market from 250,000 metric tons to 350,000 metric tonnes annually.
However, at the local market in Lagos, the average price of 12.5 kg now goes for N5, 500 against N3, 400 it was sold in December.
Some domestic gas users said that they were not happy about the sudden increase in price of gas, which they described as “arbitrary and thoughtless’’.
Mrs Juliana Francis, a resident of Palmgrove Estate, complained that gas sellers were fond of exploiting the users through arbitrary price increase of the product, especially during festive periods.
“I filled my cylinder with N3, 500 in December, but surprisingly, I was told that the price has now gone up to N5, 300.
“In annoyance, I went to a gas plant inside a filling station thinking that it would be cheaper, but it was being sold at N5, 500 there.
“I had no choice than to go back to the first gas plant to fill my cylinder. This practice by gas sellers is highly unfair to the users considering the economic hardship in the country.
“I appeal to the relevant regulatory agencies to halt this practice by monitoring and checking the excesses of the gas sellers,” she said.
Also, Mrs Folakemi Bakare, a resident of Iponri Housing Estate, Alaka, said that cooking gas price rose from N3, 500 to over N5, 000 in most of the sale points in the area.
“I usually filled two cylinders ahead of the festive period because I know that the sellers would sometimes create artificial scarcity and inflate the price,” Bakare said.