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Cooking Gas Price Surged 100% After Import Tax Implementation

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The Federal Government has implemented a 7.5 percent tax on imported Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly called cooking gas, as the cost of the commodity leap by over 100 percent within a period of eight months.

It was gathered on Sunday that the government implemented the VAT on LPG imports about three weeks ago and some dealers were also mandated to pay the tax for commodities imported several months ago.

Operators told our correspondent that Nigeria imports about 70 percent of the commodity, while the rest was mainly supplied by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company.

It was also gathered that the cost of a 12.5kg of cooking gas that sold for about N3,500 in December 2020 had jumped to as high as N6,800 in parts of Abuja.

A resident along the Lagos-Ibadan road said she bought the commodity on Sunday at N7,200 in Lagos, as dealers projected that the cost might hit N10,000 in December this year.

Operators stated the development had made small businesses and homes in rural and semi-urban areas revert to firewood and charcoal, as the purchase of cooking gas had plunged in recent months.

The National Chairman, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Association of Nigeria, Michael Umudu, said there were three factors that caused the surge in price.

He said, “There are three major factors to the hike in prices. Firstly, about 70 percent of the gas we consume in Nigeria is imported and importers have to contend with the high cost of foreign exchange.

“Secondly, there is a rise in the price of petroleum products in the international market and because of that, the cost of LPG has equally gone up. So importers now pay more on imports.

“And thirdly, the government added VAT on imported LPG about three weeks ago. It (VAT) was 7.5 percent of the cost of the commodity and this exacerbated the price hike of cooking gas in the past three weeks.”

Umudu stated that before the introduction of VAT, foreign exchange and the cost of petroleum products in the international market had been the factors causing the rise in price.

“Around November/December last year, 12.5kg was sold at about N3,500, but in July it went up to around N5,500 and when VAT was introduced about three weeks ago, it now escalated to about N6,500 and above,” he stated.

Umudu added, “The price hike seems to be happening on a daily basis and nobody can tell when it will stop. There has been a lot of appeal to the government to find a way of persuading NLNG to increase its domestic supply so that the product can be affordable.

“NLNG supplies about 35 percent of the gas we consume locally and that percentage is not adequate. And the gas sold by NLNG is even sold at an international price and is priced in dollar, not naira.”

On the cost of the commodity in metric tonnes, Umudu, replied, “20MT is now in the average of about N8m. And before VAT was introduced, the price of 20MT was around N6.8m to N7m, which was the highest price then.”

He noted that consequent to that, there has been an upsurge in the use of firewood and other alternative energy sources nowadays.

“If you come to Lagos, you will see heaps of firewood like groundnut pyramids. Many people who use LPG to run their small businesses cannot cope again because of the price. They are in crisis right now; some of them are now using firewood, others, charcoal,” he stated.

Umudu added, “Many people in the rural and semi-urban areas are dropping their cylinders. Those who find it difficult to get alternatives are actually going through a very hard time.”

Also speaking on the issue, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, Bassey Essien, said the cost of 12.5kg gas could hit N10,000 in December.

He said, “If by December they (government) don’t take time to address this surge, it (12.5kg) will be N10,000. We are not the one causing this, rather it is the government. We sell what we get.”

On what could be done, he replied, “The volume we produce in Nigeria is just about 40 percent of the total consumption; the rest is imported. And you don’t have a forex window for these people to access to import gas.

“And secondly, you suddenly woke up and said you want to start imposing VAT on imported gas, which was removed several years back. And now, you didn’t even start it fresh, rather you said it is going to be in retrospect, starting from several months back.”

He added, “And you are imposing billions in taxes on gas imports, for instance, you ask one company to pay about N4bn as tax. Now if they pay that money, some other person needs to shoulder this cost.”

On what the government was doing about the development, the spokesperson of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had said the commodity was deregulated.

Muhammed, who served as the media aide to Sylva before switching to become NNPC spokesperson recently, said, “The minister answered this question during his last press briefing two weeks ago.”

At the briefing, Sylva had said, “We are not in a position to determine gas pricing because gas is not a regulated product. But, of course, we are also very concerned that prices are rising and so I am actually doing something about it in the interest of the ordinary Nigerian.

“I am calling some of the suppliers to discuss the reason for this hike.”

He added that the intervention was outside the government’s role.

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FG to Add Additional 817 MWs to The National Grid to Boost Power Supply

The federal government has revealed plans to add an additional 817 megawatts (MWs) of electricity to the national grid to boost power supply within the federal capital territory (FCT) and its environs.

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The federal government has revealed plans to add an additional 817 megawatts (MWs) of electricity to the national grid to boost power supply within the federal capital territory (FCT) and its environs.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Mr. Sule Abdulaziz while on a visit to the ongoing projects in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He added that when the project is completed, it would add 1. 465 more transmission lines to the grid, improving and strengthening the FCT’s access to electricity.

In his words, “With the additional lines, TCN capacity of transmission lines will be higher than what is in existence and this means that in future, we can build some sub-stations without upgrading the lines”.

“This is part of efforts to increase transmission wheeling capacity in the FCT and environs. The project is categorized into six lots and is far advanced in execution above 85 percent in total completion by December.

“This will be adequate and it will serve the population of Abuja. The government while making plans for the project has in mind that if the population of FCT increases within five to 10 years, there is a master plan that the station will serve the territory in the next 50 years.

“Construction of complete new 2x60MVA, 132/33 KV substation with 132KV line Bays at Wumba/Lokogoma including about 5km 132 underground XLPE Cable from New Apo Sub Station are ongoing.

“Others are the construction of a 2x150MVA 330/132/33KV substation at New Apo where the managing director frowns at the slow pace of work done by the contractor”.

He also lamented on the recent abysmal supply of electricity, noting that the contracts for all the substations were signed at the same time and wondered why the slow pace of work.

“We have spent a lot of money to clear their containers which entered demurrage and this money is not part of AFD grant but TCN Internally Generated Revenue which could have been used for other projects. We are going to push them to finish the project on time,‘’ he said.

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Here is Why Otedola is Listing N250 Billion Geregu Power Plant

Otedola listed Geregu to raise additional cash for expansion in the Nigerian energy sector

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Wondering why billionaire Femi Otedola listed Geregu Power? Here is a concise breakdown of what might have compelled the billionaire to run to the capital market after nine years of acquiring the Geregu Power plant via Amperion Power, a company he owns a 99.9% stake in.

In 2013, the year the billionaire first invested in the energy sector. Otedola dumped a total sum of $94 million on Geregu Power through Amperion.

In 2018, Otedola invested an additional $350 million in the sector, saying it was a sign of his commitment to the Federal Government’s plans of addressing the age-long challenges impeding the electrification of the nation.

The huge investment was the billionaire hint of what is to come as shortly after he announced the sale of Forte Oil to Abdulwasiu Sowami, the present owner of Forte. Otedola sold all his 75% stake in Forte Oil in 2019 and immediately announced a shift in his investment direction.

Earlier this year, Amperion Energy was selected by Federal Government to bid for the sales of Geregu II after reporting a reasonable success with Geregu Power in 2021 when the company declared a profit after tax of over N20 billion.

Otedola, who just invested a substantial amount in FBN Holdings Plc, needs to source for funds if he must expand his grip in the energy industry. The billionaire quickly divested N8 billion from his over 7% stake in FBN Holdings and went on to list the Geregu Power plant on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) at N250 billion to raise an additional fund for Geregu II bidding.

Geregu II Generation Company was put up for sale by the Federal Government amongst other power plants like Benin Generation Company Limited, Omotosho Generation Company Limited, Calabar Generation Company Limited, and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited for acquisition in July 2022.

The Geregu II Generation Company has a capacity of 434MW. Therefore, by acquiring Geregu II Otedola’s total power-generating capacity would increase to 848MW given Geregu current capacity of 414MW.

Geregu Power Plc was incorporated in November 2006 as one of the unbundled companies from the non-existing Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The power plant began operations in 2007 with a total installed capacity of 414MW at commissioning. Therefore, given the seemingly unplanned method, in which Otedola jumped on FBN Holdings shares following the exit of Otudeko, the billionaire will need extra cash to expand his market share in the energy space. This listing explained how he plans to access or he is accessing that extra cash.

Calvados Global Services Limited, Otedola’s investment company used in acquiring most of his stake in FBN Holdings, owns 95% of Amperion Energy.

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Natural Gas Analyst Predicts Slim Chance of Ending Gas Flaring by December 2022

Costs, policy, and operating environment among others need to be reviewed if the Federal Government must end gas flaring by December 2022.

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Costs, policy, and operating environment among others need to be reviewed if the Federal Government must end gas flaring by December 2022, natural gas analyst, Kayode Oluwadare, has said.

According to Oluwadare, the federal government must address the cost differential between local and foreign retail prices, review its gas policy and ensure an enabling business environment for intending gas investors.

Breaking down some of the challenges, he said a metric million British thermal unit is sold for $55 in international markets while the same unit goes for as low as $3.77 in Nigeria. This, he said would continue to discourage potential investors from committing their funds to the initiative.

He said “A lot of gas producers would rather sell their gas to the international markets, rather than keep it for the domestic market. Even before the global energy crisis, it has always made more business sense for producers to sell gas to international markets (an estimated $55 per metric million British thermal units) and earn in US Dollars, as opposed to local/domestic markets which are priced in Naira (an estimated $3.77 per metric million British thermal units).”

He blamed this on the Nigerian Gas Master Plan (NGMP) that mandated gas companies to give waivers/subsidies to power generation plants.

“Another factor to consider is also the Nigerian Gas Master Plan (NGMP), which gives waivers/subsidies to power generation plants to get gas at the lowest possible price under the national gas pricing policy”, he claimed.

Kayode stated that major factors like Business environment, policies, cost, and market factors will have to be addressed for the Buhari administration to end gas flaring this year-end.

He said “If I am an investor and I want to trap gas from a production site, what are the terms for selling to the power plants to make profits? We already know how some power generation plants are unable to meet up with their financial obligations for gas supplies.”

On the issue of cost, he said some crude oil producers prefer to flare gas than process it because of the huge investment involved in trapping and processing it.

He said “There is also an issue of cost on the part of crude oil producers who would rather flare the gas than trap and process it, and the investors who will build gas processing plants, will they think it’s a worthwhile investment due to the fiscal regime that does not protect the gas producers?”

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