Af­ter gas, kerosene price hikes, it’s char­coal to the res­cue in Abuja

Weekly Trust - - News - Olayemi John-Men­sah

With the re­cent hike in prices of kerosene and cook­ing gas across the coun­try, most Abuja res­i­dents now de­pend on char­coal as a sub­sti­tute. A litre of kerosene now costs between N300 and N400 in most quar­ters as against N195 to N220 while 12.5kg cylin­der of cook­ing gas costs between N5,500 and N6,500 as against N3,500 in De­cem­ber 2016.

A sur­vey by Daily Trust re­vealed that many house­holds across the city, es­pe­cially the mid­dle and low class, have re­sorted to the use of char­coal for cook­ing. Both sellers and housewives across the city con­firmed that the price of char­coal also went up as a re­sult of in­crease in de­mand for the com­mod­ity.

A char­coal trader in Kubwa Vil­lage, Mercy Okafor, said many peo­ple have aban­doned their stoves and switched to char­coal, leading to in­creased pa­tron­age of her busi­ness. “It has also af­fected the price be­cause the cost of a bag of char­coal in­creased by N400. How­ever, we now sell more de­pend­ing on how fast the mar­ket moves.”

Mrs. Amaka Sa­muel, who has been trad­ing in char­coal for the past four years in Kuje, said scarcity and in­crease in price of kerosene has im­proved her busi­ness. “Many peo­ple now use char­coal pots rather than stoves, and that has in­creased the num­ber of cus­tomers. Al­though the num­ber of peo­ple who buy in bags has dropped, those buying in smaller quan­tity have in­creased.”

A house­wife, Mrs. Fo­lashade Ojo, said she had to switch to a char­coal pot be­cause of the high cost of kerosene, ex­plain­ing that one has to be wise in spend­ing. “The last time I bought kerosene, it was N350 per litre and it did not last, which was why I opted for char­coal which is a bit more af­ford­able. Though I pre­fer us­ing stoves, I have no choice but to keep man­ag­ing with the char­coal un­til things get bet­ter,” she said.

Madam Deb­o­rah Goza, a char­coal whole­saler in Kado Mar­ket, who af­firmed that the hike in price of kerosene has brought lots of im­prove­ment and pa­tron­age to her busi­ness, noted that her cus­tomers used to be restau­rant op­er­a­tors who buy in bags but a lot of housewives have joined her clien­tele list.

She said the in­crease in the whole­sale price of the com­mod­ity is also af­fect­ing her. “I used to buy a truck­load of 200 bags but now we team up to buy and share be­cause the money is too much for one per­son to bring out at once.”

Mrs. Pre­cious Anene, who owns a hair dress­ing sa­lon in Old Karmo, said she still uses her stove de­spite the high cost of kerosene. She says it’s not easy for her but she’s con­cerned about the safety of her baby.

An­other res­i­dent, An­wuli Okeke, said she had to re­sort to the use of fire­wood and char­coal when a litre of kerosene be­came N250 be­cause of the size of her fam­ily.

“I have a fam­ily of six, so how much kerosene do I buy? I heard the price has risen to N400. I can­not af­ford that be­cause I’m just a petty trader and the money com­ing in from my hus­band takes care of the chil­dren’s school fees and house rent,” she said.

As the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC) con­tin­ues to blame oil mar­keters for the scarcity of kerosene and cook­ing gas, Nige­ri­ans are also pray­ing and look­ing up to the author­i­ties con­cerned to do some­thing ur­gent, to ease the hard­ship.

Mrs. Goza in her Char­coal busi­ness place

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