By Dada Ahmed in Lokoja.
Many house wives and restaurant operators in Lokoja, Kogi state, have abandoned cooking gas for fire wood for their domestic and commercial cooking, as the price of gas hits roof with about 100 per cent increase in the area.
A market survey conducted by the Correspondent of The Reporters in Lokoja on Thursday, showed that 12.5kg of gas which sold for N 3,600 few months ago, has gone up to N6,500 for the same quantity.
Some of the gas attendants who spoke with our Correspondent all said they received instruction from their parent companies to increase the price of the commodity.
Reacting to the gas price hike, Suraj Oyewale,a Lagos-based petroleum industry analyst,traced the main reason for the developmnt to the foreign exchange devaluation.
“Upstream gas contracts are usually priced in dollar, even for gas supply to the domestic market,” he said.
Our Correspondent who visited firewood market on kabawa road in Lokoja on Thursday, reports that sellers witnessed boom due to increase in patronage.
As a result of the rise in patronage, our investigation also that sellers have increased their prices by about 10 per cent.
Mal. Aminu Musa,one of the firewood sellers in Lokoja, told our Correspondent that his business had witnessed increase in patronage since the the new gas price was announced.
A unit of firewood of about 10 sticks, sold for N200 before the hike in gas price, has gone up to N300 and the prospect of further increase looms as the sellers struggle to attend to customers.
However,Slsome of buyers of the commodity, who spoke with our Correspondent, described the sudden astronomical rise in the price of gas as a frightening development not only to house holds but also those using gas for other commercial activities.
A house wife, Hajia Zainab Mohammed, said the increase had taken much of her family upkeep.
“Before the sudden hike in cooking gas, I used to buy 12.5kg for N3,600 or N4,300 as the case may be, but now the price has skyrocketed to N6,500.
“Feelers from the sellers indicate that the rise will still go up as naira continues to fall, vis a vis the international currencies.
” This is certainly a dilemma for my family, in this unfortunate circumstance, I have no option than resort to buy firewood, if I must cook for my family,”she said.
A restaurant operator, who did not want her identity revealed, told the online publication that the additional cost in gas price tag in her expenditure would be passed to her customers.
“But then this has its implication too as the high cost of eating in restaurants could mean a drop in patronage, a reduction in sales and profit. In all, the increase in the price of cooking gas, whichever way we look at it,is a bad omen, especially for operators of restaurants among others.
“Increase in the price of gas,like petroleum, has implications for prices of other social and economic activities,”she said.
The operator, therefore, called on the federal government to address the the daily fall in naira to dollar and other international currencies, squarely,to save the nation’s economy from witnessing more problems.
An environmental expert, Mal.Saliu Mohammed, in an telephone interview with our Correspondent from Okene, described the hike in the price of cooking gas an adverse effect on the effort of government to check desert encouragment in Nigeria.
“With the price increase in the price of cooking gas, more people will opt out of using cooking gas and resort to using firewood to accomplish their cooking.
“This means that as more people patronise firewood sellers, more sellers will buy wood for sale, meaning cutting l down more trees to meet supply in the market.
“The more trees cut down and no replanting of another one, the more desert encouragment accelerates in reaching many places in the country.
“The Federal government should arrest the price hike before it gets out of hand as it has the potential of attracting more negative effects on the environment,”he said.