60% of Nigerians Still Use Firewood for Cooking, Says FG

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Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The federal government yesterday bemoaned the poor penetration of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) otherwise known as cooking gas, in the country, disclosing that at least 60 per cent of the households in Nigeria still depend on firewood.

While acknowledging, however, that the use of gas has grown from a paltry 70,000MT in 2007 to over one million MT in 2019, the government noted that the issues of cost and safety remain the most salient in increasing gas penetration in Nigeria.

Speaking during an online conference on Nigeria’s LPG Assembly, the Programme Manager of National LPG Expansion and Implementation Plan, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Dayo Adeshina, lamented that LPG penetration in Nigeria was still just at five per cent.

While giving a further breakdown, he said 60 per cent of the population still uses firewood for cooking; 30 per cent utilises kerosene; five per cent uses charcoal while just five per cent use cooking gas.

He added that apart from household consumption, the government was also moving to increase LPG usage in areas such as agriculture, transportation and manufacturing, adding that this would enable the country to reduce carbon emissions by about 20 per cent and create about 450,000 direct jobs.

Adeshina said in realising the target, the country would require infrastructure development, including the establishment of 3,000 LPG plants, procurement of 10,000 trucks, 5,000 abridgers as well as additional skids.

In her submission, Project Coordinator/ Manager LPG, National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Office of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ms Brenda Ataga, reiterated the minister’s position that cylinder recirculation model would improve safety and reduce cost.

During the event organised by Oil Trading Logistics (OTL Downstream Africa) to discuss how government and stakeholders could harness Nigeria’s gas opportunities in post-COVID-19, Ataga said it was part of the strategic framework for the implementation of the National Gas Policy.

She said: “Government has taken a position that to increase the acceptability concept of the LPG, it will introduce into the market the model known as the cylinder recirculation model.

“This is because it wants to eliminate the bulk cost of switching from kerosene and fossil fuel to LPG. So, the intention is to break that barrier with LPG cost, to make sure that the bulk cost to the end users who require switching is affordable.

“For most people, cost is a real issue, and for others, safety is a real issue, and that is what is being addressed by this strategy that was announced.”

Also speaking, President of Nigeria Gas Association (NGA), Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, said increasing domestic utilisation of LPG was a difficult challenge that required the collaboration of the government, its agencies and the private investors.