Gas distributors have warned that if the Federal Government doesn't control the activities of terminal owners, the price of a 12.5 kg cooking gas cylinder could soar to N18,000 by December.
The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also called cooking gas, has dramatically increased at ports, according to Olatunbosun Oladapo, president of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers.
Recent price increases have brought the cost per 20 metric tonnes from between N9 million and N10 million to N14 million.
Oladapo emphasised that gas prices are rising alarmingly at the moment, and that without Federal Government intervention to control terminal owners, prices might soar to an outrageous N18 million per metric tonne by December.
Due to this worrisome price increase, a 12.5 kg cooking gas cylinder might cost up to N18,000.
The gas merchants contend that terminal owners are taking advantage of the high exchange rates to further burden the general public with exorbitant pricing.
They claim that these price increases are unjustified, especially given that Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited still supplies the market with gas.
Oladapo pointed out, "NNPCL currently takes 59 per cent of the gas produced by NLNG, although NLNG has also increased its price from N6 million to N8 million.
"Now, because NLNG has increased its price, NNPCL and terminal owners have increased the price to N14 million."
He also raised concern about how these price increases will affect common people, particularly low-income individuals who might no longer be able to purchase gas.
This might result in a rise in the popularity of cooking with charcoal and wood.
Oladapo also criticised the conduct of terminal owners and NNPCL, who had just made a public commitment to work with the government to enhance living circumstances but were now resorting to price increases.
He inquired as to the whereabouts of the promised transportation and palliatives.
Owners of gas terminals blamed fluctuating crude oil costs and difficulties with foreign exchange rates for the price increases.
Although NavGas and Nipco Plc spokespeople acknowledged price hikes, they pointed to these causes as the main culprits.
In recent months, the cost of a 12.5 kilogramme cylinder of cooking gas has increased sharply, rising as high as N10,000.
Many Nigerians are now concerned about how affordable cooking gas is, which has led to calls for government intervention to stabilise prices.