Some residents of Abakaliki, in Ebonyi State, have urged the federal government and the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agencies to urgently address the rising cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) known as cooking gas.
The residents made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
They lamented the steady rise in price of the product, adding that the average Nigerian family was finding it difficult to buy the commodity at its current price of N384 per kilogramme.
David Aluu and Chris Offor, cooking gas users, who spoke with NAN at a gas plant owned by GMPP Gas Resources Limited along Abakaliki-Enugu Highway, said the price of LPG has been on steady rise since December, 2020.
Messrs Aluu and Offor said the commodity was sold at N345 per kilogramme in December, but has skyrocketed to N384 since February.
They described the situation as unacceptable and called on relevant authorities to urgently take steps to reverse the price hike.
“Since February that the new tariff began, I can no longer fill my 15 kilogramme-cylinder due to the high price of the commodity.
“We now alternate the gas with a kerosene stove to save cost, though kerosene itself now sells at between N245 and N250 a litre, depending on the filling station,” Mr Aluu said.
“The recent astronomical rise in cooking gas and kerosene is putting most families on the edge while many have resorted to using fire wood which is not environment friendly,” he added.
Mr Offor said, “The situation is disheartening and many low in-come earners can no longer afford cooking gas at the price. I have resorted to buying 8 kilogrammes, instead of filling my 12.5 kilogramme-cylinder.
“I am appealing to relevant stakeholders to address the worsening economic downturn and reverse inflationary trend that is causing a hike in prices of essential commodities in Nigeria.”
In January, 5 kilogrammes and 7 kilogrammes of cooking gas sold at N1,725 and N2,415 respectively as against N1,920 and N2688 being sold now, while 15 kilogrammes which sold for N5,175 in January, now goes for N5,760.
At Lopa Gas station along Abakaliki-Enugu Highway and Dandilas along Abakaliki-Ogoja Road, consumers expressed concerns that the commodity was getting beyond the reach of the average citizen.
Chinwe Onwe, a civil servant and mother of four, lamented that buying the product at its current price with a salary of less than N50,000 a month was becoming difficult for her.
“With other monthly utility bills to pay, including electricity and environmental bills, buying cooking gas, an essential commodity for the family at its present price, is seriously weighing down on my monthly earnings.
“The product which sells at N384 per kilogramme is too much for us at the lower rung of the economic ladder and I appeal to the government to rescue the situation,” Mrs Onwe said.
Another resident, Vera Ndukwe, told NAN that the cost of gas has made her alternate cooking gas with fire wood to save cost.
“I alternate my cooking these days with fire wood and cooking gas to save cost, since we must find a way to survive the harsh economic situation,” Ms Ndukwe said.
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Meanwhile, an attendant at the Lopa gas station said gas price was not determined by the stations but by the price fixed by regulatory agencies.
He said every petroleum product, including LPG, is being regulated by the federal government through its agencies. He added that the current price was affecting daily sales because most customers were finding it difficult to buy the product.
“We are losing customers because of the price hike, many who come to the station prefer to buy half of the cylinder size or even less.
“The current price came into effect on February 17 and has remained so with anticipation that the price may go up in view of the steady decline in value of Naira against the dollar,” he said.