27 January 2011

Nigeria: Kerosene Price Hike - Charcoal Sellers Smile to Bank

As the price of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) goes up by N100 percent across the country, charcoal sellers in the Federal Capital Territory are now smiling to the bank. As result of the situation, charcoal has become hot cake while patronage and prices have increased too.

Most residents who could not afford kerosene due to its scarcity and high cost have resorted to charcoal as an alternative means of cooking. The demand of it is very high, thereby leading to price increase. Some of the sellers who spoke to our reporter could not hide their joy.

Mrs Esther Omale who sells charcoal at Dutse - Alhaji told our reporter that charcoal business is booming due to high cost of kerosene and that they are now smiling to the bank.

She said that a small leather bag of charcoal which hitherto sold for N50 is now sold for N100 while that of N100 now goes for N200. A bag of it which cost N1, 200 is now sold for N1, 600.

"Before now we used to buy a bag of charcoal at the cost of N800 and sold it for N1, 200 but now those who supply us sell to us at the cost of N1, 000. So we have to increase the price so as to make profit. I bought 30 bags on Monday but it remains only these two bags out of the 30 bags. As you can see the business is flourishing and I am happy about that," she said.

She said that she used to sell two bags of charcoal a day but that since kerosene hike, she has been selling more than five bags a day, saying that patronage has also doubled as a result of the hike.

He explained that those who supplied them usually get the product from Nasarawa State, Abaji and Kwali in the FCT as well as parts of Plateau State.

Asked how much she made in month, Esther simply smiled and said, "business is good. I am happy because I can now save money.

I started the business with initial capital of N5, 000 but now I can boast of something good in my account,".

Another seller, Ijeoma, whose stock has been exhausted, said she requested for 40 bags on Saturday but was supplied only 25 bags and that she sold the remaining ones today yesterday. "As it is now, charcoal is the only hope for the common man as gas and kerosene prices have gone up and not many people can use fire wood. N100 kerosene cannot cook a mudu of beans but N100 charcoal will, hence people had to abandoned kerosene and gas for charcoal," he said.

In the same vein, Isa Mansur, who sells charcoal at Wuse modern market, said he similes home with N5, 000 on a daily basis since the hike in the price of Kerosene and that on daily bases he went to the bank to deposit money.

"I usually traveled to Bauchi state to buy charcoal. Although it is costlier than that of Nasarawa state and Jos but it is stronger. A bag of it cost N1, 500 there while we sell at N2, 000 in Abuja." he said.

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