… As Nigerians turn to coal, firewood for cooking
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has explained the recent hike in prices of kerosene in petrol stations across the country, adducing it to scarcity.
According to findings, kerosene now sells between N250 and N300 per litre, against the official price of N180 per litre.
According to NUPENG in a statement on Sunday, there is currently no kerosene both at private and NNPC depots in Lagos.
Findings revealed that the product was last brought to the depot on Dec.27, 2016.
Rotimi Benjamin, National Chairman, Surface Tank Kerosene Peddlers (SUTAKEP) Branch of NUPENG, said in a statement that scarcity of the product is the reason for the hike in price.
“It is very sad that things are going on this way. For the past two weeks, there has been no supply of kerosene to any of the depots in Lagos.
“The two refineries have not produced kerosene. This has made the marketers that have the product in their stations to increase it by over 60 per cent.
“This is not the right time for our refineries to stop kerosene production, everybody cannot depend on gas.
“The common man cannot afford the price of cylinder and cooking gas. Our mothers in the village depend on kerosene, an essential household commodity to cook.
“Government should not just sit down watching the masses suffering; they should address the issue and make the product available,” he said.
Last week, reports surfaced that the price of kerosene had increased by 60 percent in Kaduna, from N1,100 a gallon in December to N1,600 in the first week of 2017.
Dealers of the product said that the product is now scarce and unaffordable for the common man.
Business Times gathered that as at December, a drum of the product was sold at N47,000 to independent dealers who resell at between N1,100 and N1, 200 per gallon.
As at Sunday, the price had increased to N72,000 per drum, according to one dealer, Ngozi Madueke.
According to her, a gallon of kerosene now sells for N1,600 a gallon.
Ngozi explained that the common Nigerian man now cooks with coal as kerosene patronage had dropped.
“Look at the line up of dealers here. Most of us sit here from morning till night and don’t make as much as in the past. We see people around us cooking with coal,” she said.
A consumer, Bisi Kudeti, said that the huge increase in price had made life unbearable for her family, urging the government to come to the aid of the masses.
“As for me, I can’t cook with coal. So, I manage to buy in bottles, else, I will just abandon kerosene. Even firewood is expensive too but some of my neighbours have started using it,” she said.
“We cannot continue like this. Kerosene is very important to the common man. For how long will this go on?” Beatrice, a pretty trader said.
“Just some few weeks ago, a gallon was selling for between N1,100 to N1,200 and suddenly, we now buy at N1,600 a gallon. In fact, in some places, it is selling for N2,000.”
“I want the government to help us urgently. This is a huge problem,’’ she said.
“As the situation is now, I cannot afford to buy kerosene at N1,600 per gallon. So, I am using firewood which is a little cheaper. I buy10 pieces for N100.
“Unfortunately for us, 10 pieces of firewood cannot cook three square meals for my family a day; we just have to manage because kerosene is beyond our reach,” Mr Rasaak told Business Times.
When contacted, Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager, Public Affair, Abuja, said NNPC was not aware of the increase in the price of kerosene.
However, he blamed the situation on marketers who he said have refused to import kerosene due to the scarcity of dollars and the fluctuating crude oil prices.
He pointed out that stations are selling at “controlled price.”
Business Times findings showed that few filling stations that had kerosene sell between N285 and N300 per litre.