The Liquified Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR) has urged the Federal Government to come up with a policy on standard gas cylinders as part of its LPG development plan.
The association, which is a branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), said such policy would ensure only standard cylinders were in circulation in the country and would prevent disasters associated with the use of substandard cylinders.
Chika Umudu, the Branch National Chairman of LPGAR, made the remarks in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday against the backdrop of rampant cases of substandard gas cylinders in circulation, which led to several mishaps.
Umudu said the policy should encourage massive importation and production of standard cylinders.
He said, “what importers do nowadays is to import what in my estimation are substandard cylinders which are affordable by average end-users.
“The issue of substandard cylinders is becoming worrisome.
“Most of the cylinders in circulation now fall short of what we can call standard.
“Although retailers have critical roles to play but government should lead in the process,” he said.
Umudu said: “From our observations, those who used to import quality cylinders are no longer importing, even Techno Gas that recently commissioned its cylinder production plant in Lagos doesn’t seem to be producing again; if it still does, we can’t find it in the market.
“We hope that what happened to other producers before has not happened to it.
“Government is supposed to provide all necessary incentives to support local production.”
He said camp cylinders which most low-income earners in the country used appeared to be the most vulnerable.
“I equally think the system should re-examine the purpose of camp gas vis-à-vis safety.
“There is need for government to invest massively in the sector or provide intervention funds for private investors to stop the hike in price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG),” he said.
He tasked government to invest in the sector or, better still, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should provide some intervention funds for private investors.
“Doing this, we would be preparing for the energy transition, which is here anyway. It will also help in our decarbonisation campaign,” he said.
On the association’s expectations for 2023, Umudu said it looked forward to improvement in the process of policy formulation regarding LPG in 2023.
He said this had become necessary because the sector could not attain the desired heights without people-oriented policy diligently implemented.
He said: “There has not been coherence in the process of formulating and implementing policies for LPG development in the country.
“Usually one would look forward to and hope for a better future. In this line, our union expects a better 2023 for the LPG sector in Nigeria.
“Better 2023, in terms of adequate supply, in terms of smooth distribution, in terms of safer supply, distribution and use, in terms of affordability and in terms of growth in usage of LPG in the country.
“I think this can be attributed to several factor such as inadequate attention from the presidency, interference by big commercial concerns especially the major marketers and conflicting policy directions from different regulators and tiers of the government.
“There should be a national policy that should embrace all stakeholders – communities, local councils, states, federal government, producers and different players in the chain of distribution.
“Government has a lot to learn from the Indian model and it is good that the government under the ministry of petroleum held the India-Nigeria LPG summit in Abuja in October 2022 where Nigerian stakeholders applauded the success of Indian model.
“The lessons from the summit should be put into use to develop the sector in Nigeria,” he said.
The LPG retailers president said: “Having said the above, our association is not expecting magic in 2023 because available infrastructure and policy framework cannot move the sector forward except if there is urgent change in direction.” (NAN)