By Ejiofor Alike
Marketers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), better known as cooking gas, have called on the federal government to develop effective policies to incentivise investors to come into the LPG sector to deepen market penetration, boost the countryâ€™s economy and protect the environment.
Speaking to journalists at the associationâ€™s gas terminal after he led the new governing council of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) on a courtesy visit to NIPCO Plc, the new President of NALPGAM, Mr. Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor stated that investors are scared by the high import duties and Value-Added Tax (VAT) paid on LPG equipment in the country.
He disclosed that investors pay millions of Naira to clear LPG equipment at the countryâ€™s ports and described the high duties and VAT as disincentive to investments.
According to him, Nigeria has become a laughing stock in the committee of nations because of her low LPG consumption, despite the huge abundant gas resources in the country.
Ogieva-Okunbor urged the federal government to remove VAT on LPG equipment completely and also reduce import duties drastically.
â€œWe are going to appeal to the federal government to remove VAT on LPG equipment if they really want to deepen gas penetration. The import duties on all the equipment that have to do with LPG have to be drastically reduced. They should remove VAT completely. When they do this, you will now see investors coming into the sector massively and this will help the country because it is a thing of shame in the committee of nations that Nigeria is being ridiculed when you consider the per capita consumption of LPG among countries. Nigeria is less than 5kilogramme. It will assist the economy and protect the environment,â€ he explained.
Speaking on why gas price has not crashed in Nigeria, he explained that â€œthere are two seasons that control the price of LPGâ€.
â€œWhen it is winter time, price tends to go up; but when it is summer, they donâ€™t use much gas in the western world and the price will come down. These two factors affect the price of LPG. The product is being benchmarked on international price. The product we are getting from the NLNG is benchmarked on international price,â€ he added.
He also explained that the new governing council of the association visited NIPCO as part of the efforts to reach some of the key stakeholders in the industry and also to congratulate NIPCO for the initiative they took in expanding their LPG facility to 10,000MT capacity.
According to him, the companyâ€™s new capacity will greatly boost the penetration of LPG in the country when it comes on stream.
Speaking during the visit of the NALPGAM governing council to his company, the Group Managing Director of NIPCO Group, Mr. Venkataraman Venkatapathy commended the association for doing a wonderful job, adding that the association has also been very cooperative with NIPCO since the company started the LPG business.
â€œThe good days of LPG are ahead due to the expansion of the biggest LPG terminal investment in Africa as well as he decline of kerosene supply in the Nigeria energy market. NIPCO is always working the talk, as well as promising the full-fledged support of Nipco to NALPGAM,â€ he added.