By Franklin Alli
Fresh energy crisis is pummelling the industrial sector as manufacturers who use natural gas have shut down their production to protest new gas price being slammed on them by local gas companies.
More than 85 per cent of the manufacturers especially in Lagos depend on gas to fire their generators while others use it for their boilers and more than 60 per cent of gas users have reduced their production in the past one week.
In a â€œSave Our Soulâ€ message to the Federal Government, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said that Gas Link Nigeria Limited had issued a notice to the various gas users of its intention to raise the price of gas this month. â€œMost of our members have not been producing in the past one week because of lack of gas to power our machines.
Up to this time, there is no single information or excuse from our gas suppliers on the reasons for the failure to supply gas. We begin to reason that some of these actions are to coerce the gas users to accept unjustified price regime,â€ said the Director General of MAN, Mr Jide Mike.
He warned that the development would lead to colossal economic loss as the few industries producing at very low capacity utilisation would fold up, resulting in loss of investment and retrenchment of workers.
MAN, he stated, was constrained to appealed to the government for possible intervention, as it the issue is crucial to the nationâ€™s economy and the manufacturing sector. â€œThe grey and disturbing issue is the recent circular received from one of the gas suppliers; GasLink Nigeria Limited, gearing for upward review of the price of gas.
He said that the reason given by GasLink for the proposed hike in gas price was the purported increase in the price of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) by the Pipeline, Products Marketing Company (PPMC) at the Port Harcourt Depot.
Mike suggested that the Federal Government should intervene in the incessant price increase of gas as well as cushion the impact of the initial shock of the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry and poor power supply.
He said that government should put in place some palliative measures in form of subsidy akin to the electricity Multi-Year Tariff System recently put in place in the power sector.â€œThis will go a long way to reduce the excessive operating cost, thereby making Nigerian products to be competitive.