THE Federal Government has blamed deregulation for the hike in cooking gas prices across the country.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that government cannot regulate the price of the commodity.
“Cooking gas is not subsidised. It is already a deregulated commodity. So, the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by anybody in the industry. Gas prices are determined internationally.
“And you all are aware that in Europe today, gas prices have gone up. There was even crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. The pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.
“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it with the local producers of gas,” the minister said.
Sylva, however, promised that the government was making efforts to reduce the cost of the commodity and make it affordable for Nigerians ahead of the Yuletide.
In recent times, Nigerians have seen a sharp increase in gas prices with attendant consequences on their standard of living.
Nigerians who bought cooking gas in Lagos below N500 in June, paid nothing less than N650 to buy in it October. Those that purchased at the rate of N450 in August, September and October in Ekiti are now buying it for N700.
Findings by The ICIR have shown that some low income families have now resorted to cooking with firewood, saw dust and charcoal.