Marketers of cooking gas under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers exposed the plans by some operators of gas terminals in Nigeria and some sets of cabals running the business, to increase the price of 12kg of gas to N25,000.
The marketers also revealed that the high dollar exchange rate was not responsible for the increase in price of cooking gas, but the greediness of the terminal operators.
National President of the Marketers Association, Oladapo Olatunbosun, said this when he appeared before a Senate panel on Monday.
Olatunbosun noted that “If we don’t rise up and checkmate the whole thing, the gas would become a luxurious product available to only the rich.
“ By December, these cabals might start to sell 20 metric tonnes for N200m. This would mean that gas will sell for 2,000 per kg and N25,000 for 12.5kg.
The marketers also accused the operators of exploiting the growing demand of the product among Nigerians by bulk buying, limiting the volume made available to Nigerians thus paving way for abitrary price increases.
He explained that NNLG has been consistent with its supply of the product but a cabal was sabotaging this laudable effort for selfish gains.
Olatunbosun said, “The Cabals are making it difficult for the average Nigerian to have access to gas. As of today, gas is sold by these terminal owners for N16.8m for 20 metric tonnes whereas NNLG sells to them for a little bit less than N9m.
“Some of them are: NAVGas, NIPCOPLC, Matrix Energy ltd, Prudent Energy Ltd, Shafa Energy, Techno Gas, StockGap Ltd, Mobil, Pan Ocean Limited, NNPC, OLogbo, NSPC Apapa, SHELL, Dozzy LPG terminal.
“When people go to fill their gas today, the least they get is N1,200 per KG imagine the pain of Nigerians. In the Nigeria of today, can a student or menial worker afford to cook a cup of beans with a N1,200 cost of gas.”
The Marketer explained to the Senate that Nigerians have no reason to buy gas for that price.
He said further, “Even countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and the rest are no match to Nigeria in terms of gas production, but the price of gas is cheaper in those countries that here where we are the second largest producer of gas in Africa after Algeria, yet our people cannot afford to cook with gas.
“We produce gas more than we import, in fact, the proportion imported is so insignificant, but these cabals have refused to allow Nigerians to enjoy the dividends of this production and the efforts put in by the government.”
The marketers further alleged that terminal operators usually state forex as one of the reasons for the increase in the prices of gas whereas the transactions were done purely in naira.
According to him, “These cabals have also made the practice of hiding behind forex but the question is does NNLG get paid in dollars, No.
“ All the transactions are completed in naira. What is the role of forex in this situation? Where is import evidence?
“You buy gas for N9m from NNLG and pay in naira, then you sell the same gas for N16m and blackmail the government.
“When people get to our plants and we tell them the price, they start weeping and cursing the government whereas, the government has done their best to make life bearable to the people.”
“We are operating 1.2m metric tonnes per annum but if we look at our population, we ought to be operating around 6 to 7m metric tonnes per annum but due to availability and affordability; we can’t operate at that level yet.
“And when gas prices went up, the level of consumption dropped, at the moment, the level of usage is between 750,000 to 900,000 metric tonnes per annum.