From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday in Asaba expressed worries over the rising cost of cooking gas, saying that if not checked, the product would be out of reach for middle-class citizens.
The governor called on the Federal Government and relevant policymakers to initiate steps to reduce the rising cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the country.
He made the call a two-day LPG sensitisation and awareness campaign organised by the National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, in conjunction with the State Government.
Governor Okowa said the theme of the campaign “Stimulating Delta State Socioeconomic Growth Through LPG Adoption And Expansion” was apt as the world moves towards greener sources of energy because of the adverse effects of fossil fuel on the environment.
Represented by his Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Kingsley Emu, the governor said stakeholders must work to reduce the rising cost of LPG if the objective of the National LPG Expansion plan was to be realised.
‘However, as we adopt LPG as the fuel to drive the socio-economic activities of the economy, we must acknowledge a big challenge currently confronting the populace, the issue of the high price of LPG in the market.
‘At the rate, the price is skyrocketing, LPG is gradually getting out of the reach of the middle class and common man.
‘The price increase has been linked to several factors including the VAT re-introduction, devaluation of the naira and large importation of LPG vis-a-vis low production locally.
‘It is imperative that policymakers find a way to mitigate this upward trend in the price of LPG to give succour to our people and if the goals of the LPG expansion plan is to be realised,’ he said
The governor said Delta is home to 40 per cent of the nation’s natural gas endowments, hence a large number of oil and gas companies operate in the state.
He added that there were prospects for the establishment of gas processing plants and gas-related industries in the state with implications for employment generation, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
He bemoaned the continuous flaring of gas by most oil and gas companies and urged them to expand their production facility to include the capacity to convert gas to LPG for use because of the untapped potentials in the LPG market.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on LPG, Mr Dayo Adesina, said Delta State was strategic to the National LPG Expansion plan in view of its contributions to oil and gas development in the country.
He said the Federal Government would procure 10 million gas cylinders to marketers for onward distribution to end-users which would be exchanged from various homes.
Adesina said there was no reason why anyone should use firewood, kerosene and charcoal for cooking especially when the country was blessed with an abundance of gas.
He commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for setting up 4 training centres for manufacturing low emission stoves in the state.
Welcoming guests to the event, State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba said the objective of the sensitisation was to display the economic and sustainability plan for adopting LPG for domestic use, power generation, agriculture and transportation amongst others.
He said that the adoption of LPG for clean cooking would mitigate against deforestation, reduce depletion of the ozone layer and boost revenue generation the state.
‘By this new vista, oil companies are encouraged to diversify by transforming waste to wealth in place of flaring gas.
‘As the state gets set to embrace the new frontiers that this programme intends to unveil, the government is not unmindful of the associated safety hazards, especially when not handled appropriately.
‘With the establishment of the Department of Monitoring and Compliance in the ministry, all hands must be on deck to institute best global practices at keeping every resident of the state safe as we reiterate our resolve to adopt LPG as a transition fuel in the journey towards greener energy,” Amgbaduba stated.
On his part, the Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council, Victor Asasa, called for the establishment of a gas turbine power plant in Irri to be powered from the gas being flared in the area.