By Henry Umoru
AS part of measures to ensure that Cooking Gas is available in every Nigerian home, the Federal Government said that it is prepared to partner with the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
Speaking in Abuja weekend when he received the President, Nigerian Association of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas commonly called Cooking Gas in his office, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa noted that penetrating the domestic market to reach the Nigerian family with LP Gas will not be difficult, stating howeverÂ that his fears has been that of the elitist nature of the product which most Nigerians have come to associate with the upper class.
According to him, â€œI want to thank you for asking us to partner with you in your drive to expand the Liquefied Petroleum Gas consumption in Nigeria.
â€œIt shows me that there is growth within the industry, I remember in those days there were just few companies like Sungas and Unido, but today I can see that there are new entrants which shows that there is some level of awareness in the industryâ€.Â The Minister who noted that most Nigerians are used to cooking with firewood and kerosene which have made progression to Liquefied Petroleum Gas difficult, stressed that the Federal Government was ready to go into joint effort with other stakeholders in the industry to move it forward.
Udenwa also noted that one major hurdle to cross was the issue of capital outlay needed for gas utilisation by the average family. He listed such outlay to include Cylinder, hose and the gas itself, sayingÂ â€œFor the average Nigerian household you need to buy Cooker, cylinder and the rest of them, in fact you cannot buy only one cylinder if you want to use gas.
He pointed out that these are the hindrances that the Association has to find means of solving. The ministerÂ who called on the association to carryÂ sensitization campaigns to Nigerian homes and theÂ general public on the advantages ofÂ using LP Gas in the country, said operators should also consider the supply end of it which must be steady at all times if Nigerians are to embrace the culture of gas usage at home.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Association of LP Gas,Awwalu Ilu, the umbrella association of both the producers and marketers of cooking gas in the country said â€œAs you are aware, Nigeria is blessed with abundant gas, we are producing over 4million tons per annum in Nigeria, but unfortunately less than one per cent of Nigerians are using coking gas.
According to him, the countryâ€™s consumption per annum is about 70,000 metric tons which translates to about 0.11 per cent while a country like Benin Republic which does not have a single drop of gas consumes 3.75 per cent per capita, adding that the sector will meet FGâ€™s set target of six million metric tons this year with 99 per cent targeted for export.
The President who called on the Federal government to put in place policies that would help reverse this trend, said â€œMajority of our people use firewood with attendantsâ€™ deforestation effects, the only answer is to make use of what we have which is LP Gasâ€.