The cost of fuel in Nigeria continues to rise as depot prices reach N490 per litre, surpassing the fixed rate of N488 per litre. Private downstream companies in Lagos have responded by selling fuel at higher prices, causing concerns among consumers. With depot prices climbing and reports of hoarding, fuel prices are expected to increase further. In response to this situation, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is exploring natural gas alternatives as a means to alleviate the burden on everyday Nigerians. This article delves into the rising fuel prices, the NLC’s proposed solutions, and the potential of natural gas as a viable alternative for consumers.
Escalating Fuel Prices and Discrepancies:
Depot prices have soared to N490 per litre, prompting some private downstream companies in Lagos to sell fuel above the fixed rate of N488 per litre. While the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) depot continues to sell fuel to major marketers at N466.52 per litre, private depots are selling fuel at N490 per litre. This disparity in pricing has led to an increase in fuel pump prices, with NNPCL stations adhering to the fixed rate of N488 per litre. Major marketers sell fuel between N488 and N492 per litre, while independent marketers purchasing from private depots at N490 per litre are selling fuel above N500 per litre. The situation is aggravated by black market traders who exploit hoarding by certain fuel stations, selling fuel at N550 per litre or higher prices.
The NLC’s Pursuit of Alternatives:
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed concerns about the rising fuel prices, particularly regarding the impact on everyday Nigerians. In response, the NLC is exploring natural gas alternatives as a means to provide relief. The abundance of natural gas deposits in Nigeria presents an opportunity to tap into this resource and create viable alternatives for consumers. The NLC highlights that fuel prices have become unaffordable for the majority, making the pursuit of natural gas alternatives a necessity.
The Potential of Natural Gas:
According to Joe Ajaero, the president of the NLC, natural gas can be a viable solution to alleviate the burden of high fuel prices. A pilot study conducted in the Edo area, where approximately 10,000 vehicles were converted to compressed natural gas (CNG), showed promising results. Former Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, stated that a litre of compressed natural gas (CNG) would cost around N90. This significant cost difference compared to traditional fuel makes natural gas an attractive alternative. A switch to CNG could provide consumers with a more affordable and sustainable option for their vehicles.
Government Initiatives and Support:
The Nigerian government, aware of the challenges posed by escalating fuel prices, is already taking steps to explore natural gas alternatives. The Tinubu administration has announced plans to increase workers’ salaries and establish a framework for Nigerians to run their vehicles on natural gas. Additionally, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has emphasized the abundance of natural gas resources in the state. Encouraging more manufacturing companies to invest in the state and utilize natural gas as a fuel source could contribute to the adoption of natural gas alternatives on a larger scale.
Bottom line :
The continuous increase in fuel prices has raised concerns among Nigerian consumers. As depot prices reach N490 per litre, some private downstream companies are selling fuel above the fixed rate, exacerbating the situation. In response, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is exploring natural gas alternatives, recognizing the abundance of natural gas resources in the country.