01 July 2014, Lagos – The President of National Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers NALPGAM, Mr Basil Ogbuanu, has appealed to Federal Government to initiate sustainable polices that will boost the use of gas as cooking fuel in Nigeria.
The appeal is based on the premise that apart from gas being environmental friendly, it is expected to generate more funds for the development of Nigerian economy.
Ogbuanu, who spoke to Energy writers in Lagos, also said that government policy and the dearth of cylinders for the storage and usage of gas are some of the challenges confronting the group in the quest for making gas energy for the future.
According to him, a situation where only 15 million cylinders are available in Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people is an impediment to the use of domestic gas as cooking fuel in the country.
He however noted that succor is coming the way of the gas marketers, as a cylinder manufacturing firm located at Berger area of Lagos, has commenced the production of cylinder, which has crashed the price of the product from N10,000 to N7000. Speaking on how to harmonise operations and make gas available to consumers, he said that the group has given its members, one year to upgrade their gas dispensing plants as part of the agenda of bringing gas to the doorsteps of the consumers nationwide.
“Before now, cylinders in different sizes were very scarce, but now they are readily available in 5 and 6 kg,” he said, while attributing the surge in gas usage to massive investment in gas projects by Nigerians.
“In 2011, we had about 250 gas plants, but today there are about 400 gas plants in the country. In Lagos alone, we had 15 plants, but today there are over 80 gas plants, which serve as both storage facilities and selling points to end users.
“We also have about 4000 metric capacity for Lagos alone. In Enugu, we have 17 plants; in Umuahia, we have four gas plants at various stages of completion. By the end of the year, we will have about five plants in Abia State. In Ebonyi, there are over seven plants as we are expanding and having new entrants to the sector,”
The Managing Director of APGAM, the business arm of NALPGAM, Mr Gbenga Folausi, who also spoke, stated that the Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG, has increased the price of the product to end users.
Speaking further on the challenges confronting the group, he decried the incidence of double taxation, and the incessant harassment of members by the officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, on payment of tax and value added tax, in spite of the waiver and tax exemption granted them by the Federal government during Obasanjo’s regime.
He argued that government is supposed to be a continuous process that provides goods and services as well as relief to the greatest number of people.
He also pointed out that the deployment of unskilled people to plants that were not given permit by the Department of Petroleum Resource, DPR, to build gas plant is another threat to the sector.
He added that this could cause industrial accident that may have negative impact on both the people and the environment if not addressed by the government.