The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers has charged terminal operators with continuously raising gas prices, taking advantage of Nigerians, and restricting gas supply.
Leading the marketers, Oladapo Olatunbosun, the president of the organization, informed the Senate on Monday that while Nigeria Natural Liquefied Gas has been a constant supplier, cabals have caused disruptions in the gas supply for Nigerians.
According to Olatunbosun, a few marketers were part of a cabal that was purchasing the goods at a reduced cost directly from the manufacturer and reselling it to them at an exorbitant price.
For the common Nigerian, getting gas is a challenge because of the cabals, Olatunbosun clarified. NNLG sells them gas for slightly less than N9 million, but these terminal owners are currently selling it for N16.8 million for 20 metric tons.
“There are a number of them, including Mobil, Pan Ocean Limited, NNPC, OLogbo, NSPC Apapa, SHELL, Dozzy LPG terminal, Shafa Energy, Techno Gas, StockGap Ltd, and NIPCOPLC, Matrix Energy Ltd.
The least that individuals get these days when they go to fill up their petrol tanks is N1,200 per kilogramme; just think of the suffering that Nigerians must endure. Is it really possible for a student or low-wage worker in modern-day Nigeria to pay N1,200 for gas and boil a cup of beans? he questioned.
It is not reasonable for Nigerians to purchase gas at this price, the marketer told the Senate.
Olatunbosun stated, “It is true that Nigerians produce more gas than people in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and other nations, but our gas prices are lower here in Nigeria, where we are the second-largest gas producer in Africa after Algeria, and yet our people cannot afford to cook with gas.”
In comparison to imports, we produce more gas. Nigerians are actually not importing that much, but these cabals have made it impossible for them to benefit from the government’s efforts and the fruits of their labor.
According to the marketers, while transactions were conducted only in naira, terminal operators frequently cite foreign exchange as one of the causes of rising gas costs.
The Association President clarified, saying, “These cabals have also made it a habit to hide behind foreign exchange, but the question is, does NNLG get paid in dollars? Nope. Naira is used for all transactions. In this scenario, what part does forex play? The important evidence—where is it?
You pay N9 million in naira to NNLG for gas, which you subsequently sell for N16 million and use the proceeds as leverage against the government.
The government has made every effort to make life tolerable for the populace, but when people arrive at our plants and we inform them of the price, they begin to cry and curse at us.
By December, 12.5 kg of gas will sell for N25,000, the marketers further threatened, unless action was taken to appropriately solve these problems.
“The gas will become a luxury good accessible only to the wealthy if we don’t stand up and checkmate the whole thing,” Olatunbosun continued.
These gangs may begin selling 20 metric tonnes for N200 million by December. In other words, gas will sell for N25,000 for 12.5 kg and N2,000 each kilogram.
The marketers also expressed regret about Nigeria’s relatively low use rate, which they attributed to a number of issues including poverty.
According to him, we should be producing between 6 and 7 million metric tonnes annually based on our population, but we are only able to produce 1.2 million metric tonnes because of supply and cost constraints.
The amount of use decreased as gas prices increased; currently, annual utilization ranges from 750,000 to 900,000 metric tons.
People will enter the deforestation to obtain wood and charcoal for cooking, and our forest will suffer as a result.
Olatunbosun said, “This is the kind of hardship that the few cabals have subjected poor Nigerians to, which is worrisome, especially because it would continue to sell Nigerians’ false impression that this administration is not doing anything for the public.”
Although NNLG is aware of all of this, they have chosen not to take action. The difficulty is that there is no rule.
“We have come before the Senate to plead for assistance for the impoverished Nigerians because it appears that those without a voice have no one to defend them.”
He went on to say that in order to support our efforts to increase gas consumption, there needs to be room for profit-making investments that don’t violate public interest.
They are investors, and since they invested their resources, we have nothing against them making money, he said, but what is not permitted anywhere in the world is making enormous profits.
“These cabals oppose the expansion of the industry since more investors will enter the market and discover gaps as a result of growth.
In order to prevent investors from entering the market and to gain control over the industry, they aim to lower the utilization rate.
Marketers were given the reassurance that the Senate would not overlook the problem by Jarigbe Jarigbe, the Senate’s gas chairman.
The problem, he said, was one of great national importance and needed to be given careful consideration.
On behalf of the committee and the Senate, Senator Jarigbe remarked, “I have listened to you.”
It is well known that the current administration has discussed ways to enhance the availability of LPG and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for automobiles, in an effort to mitigate the impact of the elimination of subsidies.
Regarding your complaints, which state that NLNG sells to terminal owners for roughly N7 million for 20 metric tonnes, and that they then sell to you at a margin of about N7 million, the Senate will not stand for this. This would have a negative multiplier effect for that to the final consumer. Because it is not Mr. President’s objective, I am also certain that the executive will not support it.
I want to praise you for your bravery because, at this point, it would have been easy for you to give in, but instead you chose to stand up for the average person, the speaker said.
Beyond what you have done, I would go above and beyond. Speaking in a more lighthearted tone, the Senate President stated that Nigerians need to breathe, not only the extremely impoverished.
All people use gas these days, with the exception of those living in the inner villages, thus we must give ourselves permission to breathe.
Since we were elected to represent our people and it is our duty to safeguard them, the Senate will do everything in its power to support you and Nigerians on the problem of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
He said, “We pledge to back up words with deeds.”