28 March 2014, Lagos – Nigerians consumed a paltry 30 per cent or 250,000 tonnes, out of the whopping 850,000 tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) reserved for domestic use last year, according to Prince Haruna Momoh, managing director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC.
This translates to a meager consumption figure of 1.8kg per capita, compared to the West African regional average of 3.5kg.
Momoh made the disclosure while speaking on “Stimulating Consumption of LPG in Nigeria,” at the just-concluded NALPGAM Inaugural Conference in Lagos, saying the figure had placed Nigeria among the lowest LPG consuming nations in Africa.
“There is an urgent need to reverse this trend and join the rest of the world in maximising the benefits of this abundant resource,’’ he said.
The PPMC chief said there was urgent need for action to stimulate LPG use, suggesting that Nigeria could adopt the “Indonesian Model’’ to popularise LPG.
He said that billions of revenue could be saved by Nigeria if the populace embraced LPG, rather than relying on wood and kerosene for cooking.
Momoh noted that resources spent on kerosene subsidy, could be put into more productive areas, such as infrastructure development, education, health and agriculture for the welfare of citizens.
He lamented, however, that some problems, including high cost of cylinders, low public awareness, poor infrastructure, kerosene subsidy and a lack of investment in the value-chain had continued to make many Nigerians not to embrace LPG.
The managing director, therefore, called on stakeholders in the downstream to join forces with government to pursue the vision of deepening the use of LPG.
Similarly, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Techno Oil Ltd., Mrs Nkechi Obi, argued that the way out was for government to adopt a graduated removal of kerosene subsidy over a five-year period to compel Nigerians to use LPG.
Her paper was entitled: “Enhancing Liquefied Petroleum Gas Growth in the Nigerian Market.’’
The Techno Oil boss suggested that government should discount equivalent of 20 per cent of the value of the kerosene subsidy each year and channel same to LPG support.
She lamented that subsidising the consumption of kerosene was increasingly becoming harmful to Nigeria’s economy.
Obi said that savings on the subsidy could be spent on the acquisition of gas cylinders to promote utilisation of LPG.
She also said that for sustainability, government should invite entrepreneurs to invest in LPG infrastructure development the same way fuel depot infrastructure development was executed.
“With all sincerity, government subsidising kerosene is not sustainable and it is also not healthy because the world has moved on and Nigeria also has to move.
According to her, there is no country that is still using kerosene as a source of fuel because it is quite uneconomical for a country to do so.
Corroborating Haruna, she revealed that in spite of the growing awareness in the use of LPG, Nigeria was still lagging behind in Africa in the consumption of LPG with a per capita consumption rate of 1.1kg.
The company executive said that compared with Nigeria, Ghana currently had per capita consumption rate of 3kg, Cameroon 1.9kg, South Africa 5.5kg and Morocco 44kg.
“This is in spite of the fact that Nigeria has the highest gas reserve in Africa,’’ she stated, lamenting that over 80 per cent of the Nigerian population still depended on kerosene and wood for cooking.
Obi argued that the way out was for government to embark on a systematic campaign to popularise the use of LPG in Nigerian homes, instead of kerosene and wood.
“My humble submission is for government to use the National Orientation Agency to propagate the campaign to switch to LPG. This will reduce phobia and improve public awareness that LPG is clean, safe and affordable,’’ she stated.
The executive vice-chairman said that Techno Oil had since adopted an advocacy campaign, tagged “Going Green’’ in a bid to champion the cause for Nigerians to switch from using wood and kerosene to LPG.
“In furtherance to our advocacy which has been on for the past two years, we have distributed 20,000 units of gas stoves at discounted prices,” he said. “We retail cooking gas at all our 20 retail outlets nationwide. We are at an advanced stage on the construction of 5000mt LPG terminal.
“And if government gives us good incentives, we shall roll out our plan to commence the manufacturing of cylinders in Nigeria.
“It is madness to keep importing cylinders from Asian countries,’’ she stated, commending the PPPMC managing director for standing out in the campaign to popularise LPG consumption in the country.
Obi also advised the Department of Petroleum Resources to evolve guidelines that would incorporate gas refilling plants at petrol filling stations nationwide.
“Unavailability of refill centres in neighborhoods is still a big challenge in the drive to get more Nigerian to switch to LPG,” he said. “Consumers do not need to go more than a kilometre to access an LPG refill plant if the switch to LPG would be sustainable.
She said that it was dangerous to cook with fire wood and kerosene because of their harmful effects to life, describing kerosene and firewood as more dangerous than cigarette smoke.
Obi suggested that government should partner the organised private sector to popularise the use of LPG to sustain nation growth.