New Telegraph

Soaring cooking gas prices strain households, businesses

A sharp increase in the cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, is causing growing concerns among both house users and businesses in Lagos and by extension other states in the country. The surge in cooking gas prices has had a notable impact on household budgets and commercial operations, affecting lives daily for many in cities.
Cooking gas is an essential means of cooking in numerous households in Lagos, as well as throughout Nigeria, given its convenience and relatively eco-friendly nature compared to alternatives like charcoal, kerosene and firewood.
However, the escalating costs of LPG in recent months have disrupted this equilibrium. A visit to a local gas station revealed that the price of a standard 12.5 kg LPG cylinder has reached a staggering N13, 800, a huge jump from the previous cost of N8, 500 only a few months ago.
And for those who usually buy in kilograms, the cost now hovers around N1, 000 and N1, 200, significantly impacting the finances of regular Lagos residents and businesses, from modest eateries to larger restaurants.

Abuja
In the Gwagwalada and Kubwa areas of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), cooking gas refill for 12.5kg fluctuates between N10,500 and N12,000,
The spiralling costs of cooking gas are becoming an increasingly daunting challenge for many households. Despite the perceived efficiency and environmental benefits of using gas, the rising prices are causing some to reconsider their energy choices.
Mrs. Funmi Ademola, a concerned Lagos resident, expressed her distress, stating: “The sudden surge in gas prices is a painful situation. Gas used to cost N8, 500 for a 12.5kg cylinder, but just yesterday, my husband paid N13, 800 to refill it. Considering my household, filled with enthusiastic youths who love to cook their favourite dishes, I can’t impose restrictions on how they cook. So, we rely heavily on gas. Now, I have to refill my gas cylinder twice a month at this exorbitant price.”
She further explained: “This price increase has a significant impact on my family’s finances. Every Nigerian household operates on a budget. If your household allowance is based on previous gas prices and you suddenly find it increased at the gas station, it automatically affects everything else on your list. So, this increase has disrupted the acquisition of other essential household items. I implore the government to address this situation because many are suffering. Imagine my husband and I are both working and still struggling; now, think of single-parent families and the challenges they face. I plead with the government to intervene.”

Hardship
Another LPG user, who wished to remain anonymous, voiced her hardship since the gas price hike, saying: “I filled my cylinder for N1, 000 per kg last week. If I refill it today, I don’t know how much they will charge. Previously, I used to fill it for just N500 per kg. Do they think money grows on trees? The government should consider the masses before making such decisions. Currently, I have firewood stocked in my backyard because I can’t afford the current gas prices. I have to cook for my grandchildren who are also staying with me.”
She added that if the government restricts the use of cooking gas, they should at least lower the price of kerosene, so those who cannot afford cooking gas can switch to kerosene. She pleaded with the government to stabilise the price of cooking gas.
Mr. Thomas also shared his experiences, lamenting the effects of the gas price increase on his household and urging the government to intervene.
“Fingers are not equal. If they raised the price, believing every Nigerian can afford it, they need to reconsider. A few days ago, I refilled just a kg of gas because that’s all I could afford, and within two days, it had finished. Now, I’m looking for charcoal. The government should assist us by making cooking gas affordable for everyone.”
A Magboro resident, Mrs. Ifeanyi Solomon, said: “Last week, I filled my cylinder for N1, 100 per kg, which I used to fill for N600 per kg. I’ve informed my children that we will soon switch to firewood, even though we dislike it. The smoke isn’t good for my eyes. I don’t want to return to using firewood, and my children don’t want that either. The government should reduce the price, even if it returns to N600; we will manage to buy it.”
The soaring cost of cooking gas is not only affecting households but also taking a toll on businesses, particularly restaurants and food vendors. To cope with the challenges, many are contemplating changes to their menus.
An employee at a major eatery in Lagos revealed their struggle, noting: “Due to the change in gas prices, when some customers come in and hear the new prices, they walk out without placing any order. I don’t blame them. If you budgeted for a plate of rice and chicken and then discover it costs more, you’d likely leave if you don’t have extra money. We hope the government acts swiftly to reduce the prices.”

Food vendor
Mrs. Mojibola, a food vendor, also pleaded with the government to lower the price of cooking gas due to its substantial impact on her business.
“I used to buy gas for N500 per kg, but now it’s N1, 100. It’s a significant difference. I can’t sell a spoon of rice at the same price as I used to when gas was cheaper; I would be running at a loss. When my customers come, I explain the price increase; some buy, and some leave for more affordable places. I don’t want to lose customers because I’m barely making enough to support my family and educate my children.”
While the future of cooking gas prices in Lagos remains uncertain, one thing is evident; residents are resilient and adaptable, seeking innovative ways to continue cooking their favourite dishes, despite the surging costs of LPG. The hope is that the government will address these concerns promptly, ensuring that cooking gas remains an accessible and viable option for households and businesses across the country.
However, Dan D. Kunle, an expert in natural gas, elucidated that the escalation in cooking gas prices is a predictable outcome owing to the notable surge in demand for this essential commodity.
It is also worth noting that LPG imports are subject to fluctuations in international prices, encompassing processing costs and shipping expenses (in dollars), collectively influencing the final cost borne by end consumers.
With the naira currently going for roughly N1, 200 to a dollar it is expected that the price will go up since like petrol the nation relies on imports for most of its domestic needs.

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