By Udeme Akpan & Michael Eboh
Nigeria’s domestic demand for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, increased from 600,000 metric tonnes, MT, to 840,000MT, indicating an increase of 40 per cent as at December, 2019.
Addressing members at the just concluded Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Lagos, the President, Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA, Mr. Nuhu Yakubu, said: “The industry has recorded a quantum leap in number of LPG operators across the entire supply, demand and distribution value chain, occasioned by the Continuous growth that has been recorded year on year, which recent PPPRA report states over 840,000MT as at December 2019. Even at this impressive growth, demand has been largely driven by domestic demand.”
He stated: “We have maintained a progressive and all welcoming open door policy, with the hope that all aggrieved parties will see reason with us for the need to forge a common front with one voice to move the industry forward for the good and benefit of all.
The past two years have not however gone past without some recorded safety related incidents, which regrettably involved serious injuries and even some fatalities. Worthy of note are those that happened in Lagos and Nassarawa states respectively amongst others.
In all of these cases, we were able to quickly respond by dispatching our members with safety expertise to the incident sites to gather first-hand information on causes of each incident, with lessons recorded for future references. We have improved our engagements with the relevant regulatory agencies, including SON and DPR in managing reportage of LPG incidents with the correct narrative, and issuing Press Releases, as well as formally informing and engaging the regulators for information exchange of our respective findings.
“A detailed record of all incidents recorded is available with our Safety and Technical Committee for members who may wish to learn more. The good news however is our recent launch of the LPG Safety Check List, which was developed through our works at the LPG JWC being its first deliverable, following many months of research and collective imputes of our expert membership of the committee.
The aim is to promote Self-Regulatory safety practices across the LPG value chain, with the view to reducing occurrences of avoidable LPG accidents. Please do well to download your copies of the Safety Check list from our website, or liaise with our Secretariat staff to know how to secure your copies.”
According to him, “As industry professionals we will continue to take the prideful role of engaging the stakeholders in order to promote and educate users on the safe use and handling of LPG in the entire value chain.
All members are therefore implored to key into the safety training courses for plant operators, supervisors, truck drivers so that we can reduce drastically the frequency or perhaps eradicate incidences in our industry as this affect acceptance and switch to LPG that we so desire for this country to attain growth and development it deserves.
“The President said: “Moreover, amongst our planned activities for 2020 is our planned nationwide Awareness and Sensitization campaign exercise, which we hope to kick off in February or March. The plan is to educate LPG users and traders on safe handling of LPG, amongst many other program packages. You will all agree with me that the need for this exercise cannot be over emphasized, and we will be calling on each and every of our members to support generously to make the exercise a huge success.
“I will now like to proceed along with the four thematic pivots for which the objective to deepen the safe use of LPG in Nigeria was conceptualized and formulated into the LPG Policy document as it is today, and importantly what your Association has been doing to achieve these objectives. Equally very important are various planned activities for this year 2020, which has been aptly declared by the Hon. Minister of State for petroleum as the year of gas, as webegin this new decade in history.”
He stated: “For the avoidance of doubts, recorded activities/progress along the four thematic perspectives are: Availability – improved local and imported sources of supply, along with improving midstream distribution facilities, including now operational terminals in the Niger Delta region; Prudent Oghara, Matrix Warri, Stopgap Port Harcourt, Dozzy Calabar. Increasing fleet of Road transportation semi-trailers. Investors are encouraged to take advantage of the current fiscal incentive regime to develop supply and distribution infrastructure. Accessibility – community based mini plants/skid plants as well as increasing number of retailers is helping to improve accessibility our hinterlands. Acceptability – awareness sensitization campaigns at micro levels, have been helpful, including activities of GTHI, WINLPG, Friends of the Environment, LCCI; even though there is room for improved engagement, hence our planned campaign, starting Q1, 2020. Affordability – Since the LPG Industry in Nigeria is fully deregulated, issues about affordability are strictly evaluated using the forces of demand and supply.”
He added: “However the Association was able to promote advocacy that sought to induce better affordability indices to drive the market for mutual benefits. For instance the concerted effort of ExCo and Governing Council saw to the final clarification of VAT waiver on both locally produced and imported LPG. While efforts are in place to consciously remove or at best reduce extortions and levies at various points in the entire value chain e.g. NUPENG levies at loading terminals. The Association is in constant discussion with NLNG on how to consistently deliver a hitch free domestic supply of LPG through a more dynamic and efficient DLPG off taker program vis a vis new terminal facilities that can receive cargo. Strategic talks with government at stakeholder levels are ongoing, aimed to minimize bureaucratic procedures to accessing the custom duty waivers on LPG Equipment, as a further boost to actualizing the objective of availability, affordability and Accessibility.”