Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government is coming up with a policy that will remove the ownership of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) cylinders from consumers.
It stated that the move would help deepen the use of LPG, popularly known as cooking gas, adding that the government had reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a pre-payment period of 18 months.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Downstream and Infrastructure, Brenda Ataga , noted that the planned policy on gas cylinders would require that the ownership of the facility “rests strictly on the dealers and distributors.
”She noted that aside from deepening the penetration and usage of LPG across the country, the policy would also address issues of safety.
She said the Federal Government would soon commence a clampdown on illegal roadside LPG dealers and urged operators to immediately convert their outlets to micro distribution centres before the beginning of the enforcement.
“The MDCs will essentially create and introduce into the market what we call the cylinder exchange programme, whereby the cylinders are owned by the distributors,” Ataga said.
She told operators, “There is no need for you to decant for anybody that comes in, and that eliminates illegal risks as well. You would fill them at the refill plants that would be tied to you and exchange it with your customers because you know your customers already.
“Your customers pay for only the content, while you own the cylinders and control the management of those cylinders.”
Providing reasons for the policy, Ataga said, “It is for us to be able to, at any point in time, discern and discover cylinders that are bad, cylinders that need recertification and cylinders that need to be removed from circulation.
“We put that onus on distributors going forward, to support the safe and standard method of selling LPG. I tell you today that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that does not practice the re-circulation model. Everyone has moved away from this because again, most of the population cannot afford cylinders; so, you have to remove that cost from them.”