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.
Fuel Scarcity: Petrol Sells N220 Per Litre in Nsukka
Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, now sells for between N200 and N220 per liter at the independent marketers’ service stations in Nsukka, Enugu State.
The News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the hike in the price against the official pump price of N162 per liter.
It said it started about a fortnight ago due to the scarcity of the commodity in the town and its environs.
Some residents of the town expressed deep worry over the development in separate interviews with NAN on Wednesday.
A civil servant, Stephen Ozioko, said the situation had further compounded the economic difficulties in the area.
Ozioko said many private car owners had been compelled to park their vehicles at home and move around in public transport.
He said: “Since the scarcity started, I decided to park my car and take public transport to the office and back home. N220 per liter is exorbitant and I cannot afford it considering my salary as a civil servant. I shall continue to use public transport until the situation returns to normal.”
A building material dealer, Timothy Ngwu, said the development had also led to an increase in transport fare in the area.
Ngwu said: “Some people now trek from Nsukka Old Park to Odenigbo Roundabout because of the 100 percent hike in fares from N50 to N100 by tricycle.
“Before now, transport fare from Nsukka to Enugu was N500, but transporters now charge between N800 and N1000.”
Also, a commuter bus driver, Victor Ogbonna, described the scarcity and hike in the price of petrol as “unfortunate and an ugly development”.
Ogbonna added: “Today, only a few filling stations are selling the commodity in Nsukka town, while others are shut.”
He alleged that some filling stations, which claimed to be out-of-stock, were selling to black marketers at night.
He said: “This is why black marketers have sprung up everywhere in the town, selling the commodity for about N300 per liter.”
NAN reports that virtually all the major marketers in the area have stopped the sale of petrol, claiming to be out-of-stock.
The people called on the government to urgently intervene in order to bring the situation under control and also put an end to its harsh economic effects on the messes.
DPR Targets N3.2T Revenue by Year-End
Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will hit the N3.2 trillion revenue target by December 2021, according to its Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu.
Auwalu made the disclosure when he led a delegation of the DPR management team to the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr Bello Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that 70 percent of the revenue projection had already been met. “Last year, we exceed our revenue budget. We were given N1.5 trillion but we were able to generate N2.7trillion.
“This year, our revenue budget was N3.2 trillion. By the end of August 2021, we have generated up to 70 per cent.
“So, we with September, October, November and December, it is only the 30 per cent that we will work over,’’ he said
He noted that the government took advantage of fiscal terms within the old and new legislation, thereby creating a level of increased signature bonuses.
“We reorganise the work programme that is normally being done in the DPR to key into the new operational structure as we see it in the bill, now an act.
“That programme is being handled by the planning and strategic business unit as against what we use to have because the entire work programme is supposed to show not only technical but also commercial and viability of oil fields and to guarantee the return on investment for investors.
“We have also created an economic value and benchmarking unit to key into the new fiscal provisions of the PIA,’’ he said.
Commenting on capacity, Auwalu said the country stands at the advantage of exporting skills to emerging oil and gas countries across Africa with proper implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act.
This, he said, the DPR was ready to partner with the Fund to continue to build capacity in the oil and gas sector
He noted that the Federal Government was determined to create leeway that would encourage investors and drastically improve the nation’s petroleum industry.
He further noted that no fewer than 300 legal battles in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which had been stalled for the past 20 years in courts, had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution.
According to Auwalu, the DPR is strategising well to ensure effective implementation of the PIA.
Responding, Gusau commended the DPR for enabling the industry and enhancing business activities in the oil and gas sector.
He said that DPR remained the head of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria adding that the Fund was grateful to benefit from the wealth of ideas from DPR.
“The last time we visited, we had a good discussion and issues raised are being implemented like tracking the inflow of funds in signature bonus accounts.
“We extended the meeting and involved ministry of Finance, Accountant General office and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Sitting at field development plans and attending significant meetings, helped us to know where and what the industry is trying to do and it also helps to inform our decisions in training and capacity plans,’’ he said
He urged the DPR to continue on its effort to ensure an efficient and productive petroleum industry in Nigeria
He assured collaboration with all as the head of the implementation committee of the Petroleum Industry Act. (NAN)
Lagos Signs MoU With Energy Firms On Power Supply
Lagos State Government, through its Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, on Tuesday signed a Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with Ikeja Electric and Sahara Power Group to increase power supply and provide uninterrupted power to residents of the State.
The agreement between Lagos State Government and the energy firms signed will also include the distribution of free prepaid meters to low-income areas, with the pilot phase of 20,000 meters to be distributed in the Alimosho Local Government Area of the State.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, said the aim of the agreement is to increase power supply to at least 22 hours daily, from about eight to 12 hours daily.
The Commissioner said the implementation would start immediately, adding that Lagos State Government has identified a number of feeders that can provide power in 20,000 low-income areas with plans to replicate the initiative across the state.
He said: “This Memoranda of Agreement is to ensure the provision of uninterrupted power to residents, especially the low-income areas. It is also part of efforts to solve the problem of metering and infrastructure deficit to ensure these areas get power supply which is also measurable.
“The 20,000 meters have been procured by the state government and would be distributed free to low-income areas in Alimosho Local Government Area as the pilot phase. Our intention is to replicate this gesture in other areas of the state once the pilot phase is successfully executed.
“We have identified a number of feeders that can provide power in these communities and implementation would start immediately.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Folake Soetan expressed the firm’s readiness to support Lagos State Government in ensuring uninterrupted power supply to residents of the State.
In his address, the Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Anthony Youdeowei, said his company will be transparent in its dealings with the Lagos State Government and Ikeja Electric to provide power supply for Lagosians.
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