Spike in cooking gas, kerosene prices and crave for substitutes

JULIANA AJAYI writes on the difficulties households face following the incessant hike in the prices of cooking gas and kerosene 

In a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics, the prices of cooking gas, known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and kerosene appear to have soared across various states in Nigeria. According to the report, the average price for refilling a five-kilogramme cylinder of LPG was N3,921.35 in May 2022 against N3,800.47 in April. This increase showed a month-over-month increase of 3.18 per cent. 

On a year-on-year basis, the average retail price for LPG increased by 89.28 per cent from N2,071.69 in May 2021. In a state profile analysis, the highest average price for refilling a 5kg cylinder was recorded in Gombe at N4,366.67 followed by Bayelsa N4,325 and Adamawa N4,250. On the other hand, Yobe recorded the lowest average price with N3,200 followed by Ogun and Ondo with N3,450 and N3,480.77 respectively.

In addition, prices analysed in different zones in Nigeria show that the average retail price for refilling a 5kg cylinder was highest in the South East at N4,094.39 followed by the North Central N3,989.98 and South South N,3977.72, while the South West recorded the lowest average retail price of N3,719.53. The average price for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas hit N8,726.30 in May 2022 from N8,164.37 in April representing a 6.88 per cent month-on-month increase. Similarly, on a year-on-year basis, the average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cooking gas increased by 103.46 per cent from N4,288.95 in May 2021.

Comparing the cost in each state, the report further showed that the highest average retail price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder was recorded in Abuja with N9308 followed by Ekiti N9,209.09 and Oyo N9184.06. Conversely, the lowest average price was recorded in Yobe at N7,500 followed by Kano and Kogi with N8,175 and N8,200 respectively. The retail price, by zones, was highest in the South West with N8916.10 followed by the South East and South South with N8,885.54 and N8,857.09 respectively. The North East recorded the lowest price at N8,423.44.


Trying electricity

While some households can afford the high price, many households find it hard. Some respondents who spoke with Financial Street revealed that electricity as an alternative for cooking was not an option, considering the epileptic power supply in the country. Kerosene is also not a substitute, as there has been a continuous increase in its price.  

According to the NBS, the average retail price of household kerosene in May 2022 increased by 15.21 per cent on a month-on-month basis from N589.82 per litre in April 2022 to N679.54 in May 2022. On a year-on-year basis, the price rose by 86.94 per cent from N363.50 in May 2021.

A resident of Ogun State, Mrs. Omolaya Oriyomi, explained that she had been buying kerosene for years, but that the recent increase in the price was worrying. 

“I am not a fan of cooking gas. I have always preferred kerosene to gas for safety purposes. But the incessant increase in kerosene since two or more years ago made one of my children get a 12.5kg gas cylinder for me. The cylinder has never been used, because I still manage to buy kerosene and use it when needed.

“Kerosene, these past months, has gone beyond reach. We cannot comfortably buy kerosene or gas without having to consider the opportunity cost; we have to cut other things off our list to afford a few litres of kerosene,” she said.

On the cost in each state, the highest average price per litre in May 2022 was recorded in Enugu at N868.75 followed by Ebonyi N861.11 and Imo N801.67. On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Bayelsa at N558.06 followed by Yobe N601.39 and Nasarawa N603.33. In addition, the South East recorded the highest average retail price at N773.09 followed by the South West N738.19 and North Central N668.78, while the North East recorded the lowest at N632.06.

The average retail price per gallon of kerosene increased by 10.38 per cent on a month-on-month basis from N2,136.52 in April 2022 to N2,358.30 in May 2022.

On a year-on-year basis, it increased by 86.13 per cent from N1,266.99 in May 2021. On state profile analysis, Abuja recorded the highest average retail price at N3,050 followed by Osun N2,914.29 and Ogun N2,795. On the other hand, Kogi recorded the lowest price at N1,920 followed by Gombe and Kebbi with N1,995 and N2,025 respectively.

Analysis by geo-political zone showed that the South West recorded the highest average retail price per gallon of kerosene at N2,555.89 followed by the South East N2,548.07 and North West N2,390.86, while the North East recorded the lowest with N2,126.90.


Fuel wood as substitute?

Nigeria, regarded as the most populous black nation, has a population of over 200 million people and a crude oil capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day. 

According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, the country ranks as Africa’s largest producer of oil and the sixth in the world. The NNPC says Nigeria appears to have a greater potential for gas than oil, producing about 1,681.66 billion standard cubic feet, with 1,3715 billion scf in year 2000. 

Its crude oil production in May rose by 70,000bpd after a decline in the previous months. 

Whether or not households will continue to adapt to the soaring prices of LPG and kerosene is fickle. However, according to a May report launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 40 million Nigerians are engaged directly in fuel wood collection and charcoal production.

A financial analyst, Mr. Godwin Eromosere, explained how the increase in cooking gas affects his household.  

His words, “The increase in cooking gas has affected me in many ways. For a salary-earner like me, what I do is place my income into a budget, so that whenever I am paid, I know where to dispatch my funds to avoid running into debt. 

“Over the past few months, the price of gas has gradually and suddenly increased. Three per cent of my income goes into gas monthly, which is no longer enough because of the 40 per cent increment over the past few weeks in my neighbourhood. Two months ago, it was N600 per kilogramme, now it is N1,000.”

Reacting to the UN report on firewood collection and charcoal production in Nigeria, he said, “The only way for a common man or an average salary earner is to learn how to cut down their budgets. If using charcoal is the only way out, so be it. The most important thing is for one to be able to prepare what to eat. Maybe gas will be used to prepare light food, which doesn’t take time because the price of filling gas now is more than what the majority can afford. Without any salary increment, only God will help us.

“I feel that should be the way out because you can’t think of comfort without having finance to back it.”

Mr. Onyeluo Uzodinma, a Berger resident, on the use of substitutes in lieu of cooking gas, said, “It is certainly an option to cut the cost of cooking.”

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