The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Federal Government to review its pricing policy on gas to boost industrial and economic growth.
The President of LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Ruwase said that payment for gas in dollars by industrial users was not in tandem with government’s objectives of promoting industrialisation, economic diversification and job creation.
“Most manufacturers are producing for the local market, it is therefore inappropriate to compel them to pay for gas in dollars.
“There are complaints across all sectors about high energy costs, especially high expenditure on diesel and petrol by large and small businesses, respectively.
“Many businesses spend as much as 15 to 25 per cent of their operating cost on alternative power sources,” Ruwase said.
The LCCI President commended government’s efforts toward reducing debts owed to gas suppliers and power generating companies as well as the improvement of loading capacity of the transmission grid.
The Chairman, Gas Users Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that “dollarisation of gas has impeded the growth of manufacturing sector and led to closure of some factories”.
“Government needs to ensure that local currency is used in transacting business in the country as directed by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The price of gas in Nigeria remains higher than the international price average at $2.5 compared to Nigeria’s $7.65 per standard cubic metre.
“The issue of paying in dollars has subsisted for a while and many manufacturers are finding it difficult to stay afloat,” he said.
He said that government’s attention was drawn to the issue about two years ago, but manufacturers were still awaiting speedy, effective and moderate gas pricing mechanism that would spur economic growth.