Kerosine still not available
*As Nigerians Turn To Firewood
• Delays In Vessels Discharge Cause Of Gas Shortage – NLNG
There was pandemonium in Canaan area of Ago Palace Way, Lagos, Monday morning, when fire ignited by a housewife to prepare meal for her family was mistaken for fire outbreak.
Hajia Halima had woken up that morning to prepare meal for her family when she discovered that the last drop of kerosene in her stove was used the previous day for the same purpose. She took the empty gallon and went straight to kerosene vendor only to be told that the same product, which she bought about a week ago at N800, is now being sold at N1, 800.
As soon as she ignited the firewood, her neigbours expressed concerns, thinking that there was fire outbreak. “I did not have any money with me and my husband who is the security guide in this building had gone out for some urgent assignment. There was no point waiting for him to return before preparing mail for my children, so I quickly gathered some sticks together and within few minutes the meal was ready. It was unfortunate that the smoke and the fire caused uproar in the area. It is better than staying without food because kerosene is expensive.
Cooking with firewood is better for my family now because we do not need to buy the wood, as we can easily gather them from the building sites around here.”
For Halima, that was a cheap alternative to tackle the kerosene scarcity. But for Madam Ngozi Ibe, a restaurant operator in the same area who uses cooking gas for her business, the alternative to gas, which is kerosene, is even more expensive than cooking gas.
She said: “As you are aware, there is also scarcity of cooking gas. Normally, we switch to kerosene whenever there is hike in the price of cooking gas. But we could not do so this time around, as the price of both products is no longer within the reach of a common man.”
In the wake of the current scarcity, the price of cooking gas across major gas plants had risen from N3, 500 for 12.5kg cylinder as at December to N4, 500 for the same quantity.
Ngozi said that she decided to continue the use of gas, even though it is expensive and pass the cost to her customers. “We cannot even consider firewood as it has also become very expensive.”
She urged government to do something about it to make life more bearable for the masses.
Kerosene, which is daily used to power stoves in most Nigerian homes, has become prohibitive in most homes and other users of the product across the nation.
The unsavoury state of affairs has forced many households into resorting to firewood and charcoal for cooking in spite of the health and environmental hazards.
The Guardian findings showed that despite assurance from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that they are going make kerosene available and at a normal rate, a gallon of kerosene still sells for N1, 800 as against the N700, normal times.
There are also reports of adulteration of kerosene, a dangerous and sometimes explosive mix capable of causing destruction to properties and human beings.
Even at that, most filling stations did not have the products as at Friday, last week. For instance, all the filling stations, such as Conoil, Mobil, Total and Oando, were still out of stock as yesterday in Lagos.
Giving reasons for the scarcity of cooking gas, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), attributed it to the delays in vessel discharges at the receiving facilities in Apapa, Lagos, saying the situation had led to a temporary supply disruption over the last two to three weeks.
The company said in a statement that NLNG’s dedicated LPG vessel had been unable to discharge LPG at the Apapa port since December 29, 2016, due to jetty unavailability, resulting in temporary product shortages in the market.
On rise in price, Nigeria LNG in a statement signed by General Manager, External Relations, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said price is based on an international price index plus 50 per cent of the shipping cost of delivering the product to receiving facilities in Apapa, Lagos.
“The reality of this is that although LPG is produced and consumed locally, the product, like crude oil, is an internationally traded commodity with an international price benchmark, open to global demand and supply pressures.
“NLNG however softens the impact of price variations by continuing to subsidise the cost of transporting about 40 per cent of total domestic market share, which it supplies from its production facility on Bonny Island.”
The Executive Secretary of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMAN), Olufemi Adewole, attributed the scarcity and hike in prices of kerosene and diesel products to the shortage of foreign exchange.
According to him, the primary challenge with kerosene scarcity is basically on foreign exchange.
Adewole said: “There is shortage of foreign exchange for marketers to import the petroleum products and kerosene is usually scarce and expensive during winter period abroad.
“The winter period also contributed to the challenge because prices of petroleum products usually rise during this period.
“There is higher demand for petroleum products outside the country than in Nigeria.
“It is well known in the international oil industry that during winter, that there are more concentration on some particular products and it is usually very expensive to import such products.”
He therefore, urged the Federal Government to provide adequate foreign exchange to marketers to enable them import and increase supply, adding that the development would lead to reduction in the prices of petroleum products.
The National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Manufacturers of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatuyi, said members do not have foreign exchange to import kerosene and diesel.
Osatuyi said that IPMAN relied solely on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for supply.
The operations controller called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to take a second look on its policy on foreign exchange and urged the Federal Government to fully deregulate petroleum products.
Osatuyi said: “The issue is that, it is not available, secondly, most of our refineries are not loading it now. Even if they load, they will be selling it at exorbitant rate to marketers. Members cannot import because of forex and besides, kerosene is not fully deregulated. It is not like diesel. Kerosene and petrol are not fully deregulated.”
A statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) resumed production, with the plant’s CDU functioning.
The Managing Director of the WRPC, Solomon Ladenegan, stated that the plant had been doing well since the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) was revved up on Saturday, January 7, 2017.