By Mike Adeyemi
The people of Kwara State are beginning to resort to alternative fuel such as sawdust and charcoal as the prices of cooking gas continue to hit the roof, National Pilot learnt.
Recall this medium had earlier reported how consumers in the state have been battling and struggling with the high costs of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, due to global supply challenges, high international prices, limited availability of foreign exchange and high exchange rates.
Our reporter who went round Ilorin metropolis brought reports that the price of LPG in the Kwara State capital increased from an average of N4,800 for a 12.5kg cylinder in June to about N7500-N8000 in October.
Our findings revealed the price of gas between early and mid-October was between N6,400 and N7,200 whereas the price was below N5,000 in June.
According to warnings by gas marketers, the 12.5kg of gas is likely to cost N10,000 in the coming weeks.
Speaking with our reporter, a consumer, Mustapha Yakub said he bought 10.5kg at N6,000 in late September.
Yakub said the price of 12.5kg cooking gas cylinder has increased to between N8,500 to N9,000 within the last few weeks making the product unaffordable to many Kwarans.
“This incessant prices hike has caused over 50 per cent of gas users in Ilorin to switched back to firewood and charcoal because they cannot afford to refill their gas cylinders. Many residents have abandoned their cooking gas cylinders for sawdust.
“About 20 per cent of restaurants and canteen have also switched to firewood, kerosene and charcoal due to the continued increment in the price of cooking gas, ” he said.
Mrs. Jumoke Hazzan, told our medium that she had newly acquired a charcoal stove with which she prepares food that consumes more gas such as beans
“I don’t cook beans with gas anymore. I bought a charcoal stove and I use it to cook food that takes time to cook, like beans,” she said.
Yemisi Usman is a mother of three who lives in stadium Road said she is considering the same option as Hazzan and said it had been difficult keeping up with the steady increase in the price of the product.
A caterer, Mrs. Dorcas Yusuf confirmed to our medium that she had resorted to use of charcoal for her cooking, stressing that most of her customers would not be able to pay beyond N400 per plate of food if she decided to raise the price.
“Charcoal is cheaper for me. The only difference is that I have to wake up very early to cook because charcoal takes time to get the food done”.
She however urged the government to come up with incentives to ensure that price of gas was affordable to the common man.
Mrs. Chika Okafor, a restaurant owner based in Obbo road said she had to switch to charcoal to save her business from collapsing.
“I have been managing due to the high cost of foodstuffs in the market and the price of cooking gas was getting too much so I have started using charcoal stove again.
“The cooking gas is better because it makes the place to be very neat but since it is no longer affordable, we have to use charcoal,” Okafor lamented.