Kunle Kalejaye 08 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, has accused the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, of inefficiency in handling berthing of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, vessels in Lagos, saying this has triggered instability in the price of the product.
LPG or cooking gas
Executive Secretary of NALPGAM, Mr. Bassey Essien, alleged that the Marine Transport Department – a unit under PPMC in charge of scheduling vessels for berthing at various terminals in Lagos – has been diverting LPG vessels meant for other jetties in Lagos to a private company (Navgas) that owns a particular jetty in Lagos, thereby creating a monopoly and causing a hike in the price of the product.
Essien alleged that the deliberate diversion of LPG vessels to Navgas and the jetty in question by the PPMC has made the price of the product to increase from N2.4 million per 20 metric tonnes of truck to N3.5 million for the same quantity in less than one week.
He maintained that the price instability caused by the development has also affected the price of the 12.5 kilogram cylinder of LPG which has increased from N2,500 to between N3,500 to N4,000.
He noted that government’s effort to supply major terminals with LPG in Lagos was currently been thwarted by “PPMC conspiracy”.
“Major terminals are being starved of the product, but if products are made available to all the terminals, the issue of price instability will not exist.
“Now that only one terminal receives product, they will be the one that will determine the market price.
“So, this is not an issue of price increase, it is an issue of price instability because if it is price increase, we should know why it is going up and if is coming down, we should know why it is coming down”.
He urged PPMC to create a schedule that would allow LPG vessels from Bonny, Rivers State, to berth twice in a month in Lagos, noting that vessels not berthing twice was creating supply gaps.
Essien maintained that beside the profit making aspect of the business being affected, Nigerians, who are the end users of the product, were being affected.
“When end users can no longer afford LPG, they will be forced to go back to dirty fuel like kerosene, charcoal and firewood which is hazardous to their health,” he said.
When SweetcrudeReports contacted Navgas on telephone, the managing director, Mr. Ian Brown, said his company does not own the jetty in question.
He explained that Navgas is a different company, with its own shareholders separate from the company that owns the jetty.
But he admitted there is a business relationship between the two companies as, according to him, the company makes use of Navgas terminal.