Importers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, more commonly referred to as cooking gas, have ceased operations.
Additionally, investigations reveal that the price of the goods surged by 240 percent between January and October, increasing from N3,000 to N10,200 for 12.5kg.
Around 65 percent of LPG consumption in Nigeria is imported, while 35 percent is produced domestically; thus, the suspension of imports could significantly increase cooking gas prices if the situation is not resolved.
Bassey Essien, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, told our sourceon Monday that the reinstatement of customs duties and Value Added Tax on imported LPG were the primary reasons for importers to cease their imports.
He added that there were various other concerns and warned that if the halt in LPG imports continued, the domestic supply of the commodity may suffer a significant decline.
This came as NALPGAM requested the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in an open letter to act promptly in Nigeria’s spiraling LPG prices.
The open letter was signed by Olatunbosun Oladapo, National President of NALPGAM, and Essien. NALPGAM is the trade association for operators of LPG bottling plants that have been licensed by statutorily authorised government entities to conduct the business of safe cooking gas bottling.
Essien claimed that as a result of the anxieties expressed by importers who ceased LPG imports into the country, cooking gas provided from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas firm was now selling for around N11 million every 20 metric tonnes truck.
This, he explained, was with a cumulative daily rise of between N300,000 and N500,000 per 20MT truck, without VAT and customs charges.
Providing further explanation on this, Essien said,
“The NLNG supplies LPG to the terminals and these terminals sell to the marketers and at times in a day, the price can go up by about three times.
“Take for example, I was granting an interview on Saturday morning on this same issue and that morning some terminals were selling for N11.6m to N11.7m, but as I stepped out of the interview, it had increased to N12m.
“And the annoying part is that since about a week or two now, nobody has been importing gas because of the issues with customs and VAT. And this is because since the position on these issues have not been clearly stated, importers have to pause.”
“The customs is even clamping down on importers and so they cannot import anything, which means that the product in circulation across the country is from the NLNG.
“But when there are issues like this, some unscrupulous people will want to capitalise on the situation, which they are doing, because right now, from what we’ve got, the price at which NLNG product gets to Lagos is about N7m, but you get it at N11m and above.”