It is a cheering news that prices of some petroleum products among which are Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, also popularly called diesel or gas, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG (cooking gas) are drastically reduced. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, disclosed this recently that the price of diesel nationwide now nears N155 per liter. Similarly, the Managing Director of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, Tony Attah, has said that the former depot price of LPG is set to crash by about 20 percent in the next few weeks. He spoke in Lagos during a facility tour of some LPG plants in the state. These are indeed welcomed reports and a good phenomenon if, in fact, Nigerians will soon be buying these products at less exorbitant rates, according to the government agencies. Cooking gas and diesel, no doubt, come with enormous benefits in our domestic and manufacturing undertakings. They are indeed unique as there would now be less financial stress on the homes when rates of cooking gas crash while our industries that use diesel will produce at less cost on energy and sell products also at affordable prices. Assessing the situation, it is true that prices of the products skyrocketed beyond the reach of the populace previously with a12kg cylinder of gas selling for N7, 000, from N3, 000. The same went for diesel which sold between N250 and N450 per litre from less than N100 per litre earlier. But with the new thinking of the authorities, succour may be coming the way of domestic gas and diesel users. Interestingly, we share in these new moments of joy from reports and call on the NNPC and NLNG to improve on their services in order to further slash the rates of these products because of their inherent benefits to the people. Even though operational difficulties and economic recession challenges may have triggered the prices of cooking gas and other petroleum products beyond affordability, as explained by the NLNG boss, government should begin to think anew and reverse all current prices of petroleum products downward for the benefit of the suffering masses: it can subsidise such domestic products like cooking gas, kerosene, petrol that serve the home needs of the people as welfare or social safety nets package. It is not asking too much, in our candid opinion, neither is government not capable of affording this simple and sheer welfare package for the citizens if it muscles the will. Again, what can be wrong with government not engaging in this path of welfarism for the people? Apart from pockets of assumptions that it may have acted from technicalities associated with current economic recession and the unwarranted full-blown deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, we call on government to slash the prices of petrol, kerosene and reduce electricity tariffs now for the sake of the suffering populace, just as it did for diesel and cooking gas. Considering the less hazardous nature of cooking gas, government must grasp the fact that firewood is no longer an alternative to kerosene and LPG because of deaths recorded from inhalation of smoke from dirty fuels, in addition to the health hazards derived from using firewood and its attendant consequences of deforestation. Coming against this backdrop, we support the present downward review of the prices cooking gas and diesel and demand same price cut on petrol, electricity, kerosene, etc. as a way of helping the citizens. And the time to do it is really now, with the challenging times of economic despair in the country.


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