The Nigerian Association of Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has in its 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Ibadan Oyo State, re-elected Mr. Oladapo Olatunbosun, for another term of two years with a commitment to raise the bar of advocacy for universal adoption of LPG as a choice commodity for every household in Nigeria and guaranteeing affordability and availability.
The NALPGAM AGM which was held at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Lagos was attended by major players in the gas value chains including the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
Other elected executive council members who will run the affairs of the Association in the next two years are Barrister Edu Inyang, who returns as Deputy President, Prince Gbolahan Odo, Treasurer, and others.
Mr Olatunbosun, who during his two years as NALPGAM President, contributed significantly to the national relevance of NALPGAM by advocating for fair pricing of LPG and resisting any attempt by LPG terminal owners to increase the price of the product due to the high exchange rate of dollar to Naira, has again restated commitment after his election to further deepen engagement with new Nigerian Government on the implementation of its gas expansion plan.
In his remark during a conversation with EnergyDay, the NALPGAM President said, “The AGM is afforded cooking gas marketers in Nigeria, the opportunity to review the past, and present and make a projection for the future of our business and also putting to consideration concerns of our customers across the country.
“Our mission as LPG marketers in Nigeria is to deepen the usage of gas and make it available to every nook and cranny of this country.
“Over the years NALPGAM has realized that gas utilization level is low in Nigeria and the awareness about the usage of gas including its health benefit were very low, we have therefore as an association significantly improved on that, such that LPG is no longer a product within the luxury item for the rich.
“Affirmatively and you will all agree with me that in the last few years, both the old and the young have not only known what LPG is, it is now a choice and most desirable cooking fuel.
“The next line of action therefore is what can be done to sustain affordability and universal availability across the social classes in Nigeria. My new governing council is therefore working harder this time to ensure that all these economic hiccups and the harsh economic reality across Nigerians, do not have a severe impact on the people such that there will be massive abandonment of cooking gas across the board.
“We cannot afford to return to the status quo and continue to contribute to global warming with severe consequences on our health, wellbeing, and sustainability.
“The first remarkable achievement that we have ensured within our rank as gas marketers in Nigeria is the stability, love, and peaceful coexistence within the association across Nigeria. Of course, we are bound together with the common interests of promoting our business and I am grateful for the fact that we have become the leading gas marketer in Nigeria and the voice of the consumers.
“Within my first term in office, we did a lot of restructuring to our Lagos secretariat and attended to staff restructuring and welfare. We have also acquired some infrastructural facilities including a property in the Lekki-Ajah axis that was purchased by the Western zone of the association.
“As a national body, we also launched a 20-seater brand new Toyota bus to conduct our monitoring and coordination activities across Nigeria. We are in the process of completing our property in Abuja which serves as a national headquarters which will be unveiled soonest. These facilities and permanent properties in Lagos and Abuja, go a long way to show us as a national association.
“We are committed to spreading our presence with properties across different parts of Nigeria including Port Harcourt, Uyo, Ibadan, Enugu, and Kano, to consolidate our national outlook.
“One of the major issues of national interest within the gas value chain is the guarantee and sustainability of the LPG supply in-country. NALPGAM is not a producer of gas in Nigeria, we are marketers, but it is what companies like Nigerian LNG (NLNG), Kwale, and other gas marketers bring to the storage facilities and terminals that we sell to our customers across Nigeria.
“So, what we can do about the supply is to encourage and call the attention of the government to this important issue. In fairness to the Federal Government, the past and present Nigerian leaders have encouraged more investors to invest in the exploration of natural gas. We need to explore Nigeria’s abundant gas resources and ensure that we bring the molecules in the earth’s surface and under the sea to the surface to guarantee supply.
“Currently we are supplementing domestic use with importation, there is no justification for this with the volume of gas reserves in the country. There is enough to be exploited and produced for both domestic utilisation and exportation.
“We are therefore encouraging President Bola Tinubu and the leadership of the NMDPRA and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to create more investment environments and attractive policies to spur investment in the sector.
“The good news as marketers is that we have not also limited our advocacy and responsibility as cooking gas marketers to buy and sell, NALPGAM is currently partnering with an investor who is going to explore the gas molecule and produce for marketers.
“This is still in the conception stage, so I won’t let the cat out of the bag. This is a massive investment with the capacity to redirect and restructure the way we run our business in Nigeria. Of course, NALPGAM is going to be part of the exploration to guarantee an easy supply of gas.
“Therefore, in the next five years, I believe the supply of cooking gas will have significantly improved to cater to the present demand.
“However, another challenge that is likely to emerge is population growth. If awareness is increasing and people are embracing gas, then we need to be on our toes and work harder to guarantee more supply. Nigeria’s population as the largest black race in the world, with the largest population in Africa is growing. So the need to feed and to supply gas to 230 million people is not a mere feat.
“We therefore need to double our supply, and I think President Tinubu also realized this. That is why he has created a specific ministry for natural gas in his new cabinet. The potential and the opportunity for the gas sector are enormous and we have realized that as a country we need to dwell more on that so that we can improve on the supply.
Speaking about efforts being made to drive down the price of LPG across Nigeria, which is almost peaking at N1000 per KG, Olatunbosun said, “Of course, there are a lot of facts about natural gas in Nigeria. The commodity market is deregulated and thereby subjected to the forces of demand and supply.
“However, the challenge is therefore the purchasing power of every Nigerian. The average income of Nigerians is ridiculously poor and that will, to a large extent, defeat our ability to embrace gas as an essential cooking fuel.
“There is therefore the need to develop more infrastructure to ensure that the pain caused by supply is not too much on the masses. The removal of subsidy on PMS (petrol) which has made gas a substitute fuel. The gain of this new commodity market trend has changed, however, as prices of petrol and gas are almost the same.
“Today 1kg of gas is sold for between N900 and N1000 plus in most places across the country, while a litre of petroleum is sold for N600 plus. So that is a kind of bottleneck with a little bit against what the government is preaching in terms of a campaign for Nigerians to embrace gas utilization.
“The pricing and the purchasing power of Nigeria is a factor so what we suggest to the government is to work on the price and the purchasing power of Nigerians. There is therefore the need for the government to rebase the economy to enable Nigerians to enjoy a good lifestyle.
“The monthly take home of average Nigeria is quite bad. What the average Nigerian worker is earning is a peanut which cannot offer them a better living standard.
“If you want people to price our petroleum products at the right price, the Government should also ensure that people can afford what they are consuming. Nigerians should have the purchasing power to pay for basic things. The poverty gap should not be too wide.
“The economic team of President Tinubu should look into it, so interns of supply gas will be readily available with all the steps the government is taking. The purchasing power should be improved so that everybody will be able to use it,” the NALPGAM President said.