The federal government says consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas won’t be allowed to own cylinders anymore.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, said the government will introduce a policy that would require that the ownership of the cylinders rests strictly with the dealers and distributors.
He said the policy was part of the strategy to deepen LPG penetration and address issues of safety.
Represented by Brenda Ataga, his senior technical assistant, Kachikwu said the government has reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a payback period of 18 months.
He said the government will soon commence a clampdown exercise on illegal roadside LPG dealers and advised all skid operators to “immediately convert their outlets to micro distribution centres (MDCs) before the enforcement begins”.
Ataga explained that consumers would only pay for the content of cylinders when the exercise begins.
“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.
“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.
“It is for us to be able to, at any point in time, discern and discover cylinders that are bad, cylinders that need re certification 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.”
In 2015 when he was the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kachikwu had said the government had plans to distribute gas cylinders to households at no cost.