In response to the escalating prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, the Nigerian government has intervened, urging International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other producers to prioritize domestic obligations before export. The Minister of Petroleum (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, conveyed the government’s concerns during a meeting held in Abuja.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently reported a 14% increase in LPG prices in October for a 12.5 kg cylinder, prompting the government to address the challenges leading to the surge. Minister Ekpo identified key issues contributing to the rise, including difficulties in foreign exchange (FX) sourcing for imports and insufficient supply to the domestic market by producers.
At the meeting held at the NNPC Towers, Minister Ekpo expressed President Bola Tinubu’s concerns over the affordability of cooking gas, emphasizing the need for multinational firms to dedicate substantial volumes for the domestic market. Ekpo asserted that the situation where some multinational firms prioritize gas exports over meeting local demands is unacceptable and needs to be discouraged.
To address the issue, Minister Ekpo formed a committee headed by the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). The committee has been tasked with providing recommendations on how to boost supplies and reduce LPG prices within a week.
Despite the government’s intervention, the NBS reported an 8.89% month-on-month increase in the average retail price for refilling a 5kg cylinder of cooking gas in October. The report highlighted state variations, with Kano recording the highest average price and Ebonyi the lowest. The North-west topped the list of regions with the highest average retail price.
The government’s swift action aims to ensure sufficient gas supply, stability, and affordability for Nigerians, especially as the demand for LPG is expected to rise in the lead-up to December.
As the committee works on recommendations, stakeholders are hopeful that the government’s intervention will bring relief to consumers grappling with high cooking gas prices.