Stakeholders in the downstream sector of the oil industry have called on the federal government to abolish payment of subsidy on kerosene and utilise the N345 billion spent yearly on kerosene subsidy for the provision of critical infrastructure.
The stakeholders, under the aegis of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Marketers, also suggested that the federal government should intervene in the area of provision of small cylinders of three kilogramme and six kilogramme sizes and their accessories to enable the poor and rural dwellers to use LPG, popularly called cooking gas.
According to them, the government should launch a scheme to increase LPG usage in selected local government areas and make provision for small skids for LPG storage.
Speaking on behalf of the LPG Marketers, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Techno Oil Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Obi, told THISDAY that the various initiatives by the Lagos state government, Oando Plc and her company had increased the utilisation of LPG, quoting a survey that said the consumption of LPG in 2012 increased by 36.8 per cent, rising from 125,000 metric tonnes to 171,000 metric tonnes.
She noted that Techno Oil had unveiled its ‘Going Green Revolution’, introducing its innovative gas stoves in a bid to make Nigerian households to embrace the use of cooking gas, rather than continuing to depend on kerosene, fire wood and other sources of energy, harmful to the environment.
“For us in Techno Oil, the advocacy for the switch to the use of cooking gas – a cleaner way of cooking — has become a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We regard ourselves as change agents. It is our determination to sustain the LPG advocacy because the nation will be better for it and the money spent on subsidising kerosene importation will be spent on other critical sectors such as education, healthcare and infrastructure development,” she said.
According to her, Oando Plc has similarly invested heavily in the launching of its gas stove brand, and had since launched its products in major retail outlets nationwide.
“The Lagos state government launched the programme, aimed at prompting clean and sustainable environment. The programme was inaugurated by the Governor of the state, Babatunde Raji Fashola. The programme, which has the active support of companies like Techno Oil Limited and Oando Plc also entailed the distribution of various sizes of cylinders to participants at subsidised prices,” she said.
Obi further disclosed that the increase in cooking gas usage was also made possible by the commitment to steady supply of cooking gas in the domestic market by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited. The company recently announced an increase in the quantity of LPG to the domestic market from 150,000 to 250,000 MT.
She also suggested that the federal government should utilise its agencies such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to promote the campaign on cooking gas utilisation.
She said Nigeria had untapped huge expanse of gas reserves in excess of 187trillion cubic feet (tcf) and an average production capacity of over three million metric tonnes (MT) but with the lowest per capita LPG consumption of 1.1kg in Africa.
“It is a disgrace that Nigeria with so much gas reserves higher than countries like Ghana and Senegal will have the lowest consumption of cooking gas,” she added.
Information from This Day was used in this report.