In the face of soaring fuel prices and the removal of fuel subsidies, Nigerians are showcasing their inventive spirit by exploring alternative methods to mitigate the impact of escalating costs of goods and services. The country, known for its resilient population, has been quick to adapt to change and find innovative solutions.
The removal of fuel subsidies has led to a drastic increase of over 100 percent in the cost of fuel per litre, prompting Nigerians to seek out alternatives. One notable alternative that has gained popularity is the use of cooking gas to power generators. This method offers a more cost-effective and efficient means of generating electricity, reducing the financial burden on individuals and businesses.
Vanguard reporters spoke with some business owners, for Mr. Gbolahan Kazeem, a barber, the removal of fuel subsidies meant that his expenses for both his shop and home were becoming difficult to manage. Previously, he spent N2,000 to purchase 10 litres of fuel, which would last him two to three days depending on customer demand. However, with the removal of subsidies, the same amount of money now buys him a mere three litres of fuel, barely enough to last a day. After learning from a friend that generators could be powered by cooking gas, Mr. Kazeem made the switch. He now utilizes a 6kg cooking gas cylinder, costing N3,500, to power his generator, which lasts for two days before electricity supply resumes.
Mrs. Monsurat Sholanke, a boutique owner, also shared her concerns about the increased cost of fuel. Previously, she would spend between N2,000 to N3,000 to power her generator for two days. However, with the removal of subsidies, her expenses exceeded N5,000, resulting in significant losses as most of her profits were allocated to fuel costs. In a bid to reduce expenses, Mrs. Sholanke decided to give cooking gas a try, hoping it would provide a more cost-effective solution for powering her boutique.
While the growing adoption of cooking gas as an alternative power source is welcomed by many, there are concerns that this shift may negatively impact the fuel business, leading to reduced consumption and patronage. Mr. Jude Okechukwu, a businessman, acknowledged the resilience of Nigerians in times of hardship and expressed his belief that advancements in technology would eventually render traditional fuel usage obsolete. He cautioned, however, that the increased demand for cooking gas could potentially lead to fire hazards if proper precautions are not taken.
To convert a fuel-based generator to a gas-based one, Mr. Chizoba Mbisike, a generator repairer, explained that the carburetor needs to be replaced. The original gas carburetor, which costs between N18,000 to N25,000, is used in place of the fuel carburetor. A long hose is connected from the carburetor to the gas cylinder, which is placed inside a large bowl of water for cooling. According to Mr. Mbisike, a 12.5kg gas cylinder can power a 30,000-watt generator for 36 hours or an 80,000-watt generator for 24 hours.
As a result of lower crude oil prices and declining global gas prices, the price of a 12.5kg cooking gas cylinder has dropped from N10,000 to N7,000. This significant price reduction has made it even more feasible for Nigerians to embrace cooking gas as an alternative power source, accelerating the adoption of cooking gas generators across the country.
The inventive spirit of Nigerians, coupled with their ability to adapt and create alternative solutions, continues to play a vital role in cushioning the effects of rising prices. As the country navigates economic challenges, the exploration of innovative alternatives such as cooking gas generators exemplifies the resilience and resourcefulness of the Nigerian people.