With the country's employment rate at 23.9 percent, the revelation that the Oando OGAS 3kg cooking stove initiative has the potential to create a minimum 36,000 jobs is a welcome development. The cooking stove which is a three-in-one bundle that comes with burner, cylinder and gas was introduced by Oando Marketing PLC to alleviate the suffering associated with using unwholesome fuels such as firewood, charcoal etc. for cooking.
This disclosure was made during the Oando/ACCESS AFRICA (Agriculture, Climate Change and Entrepreneurship Support Services) summit held in Abuja recently with the theme "'LPG as a climate control tool in Africa: The Sustainability Agenda". The summit which brought together many thought leaders was aimed mobilizing commitment towards the adoption of LPG as the preferred cooking fuel was attended by Ministers, law makers, representatives of DFID, USAID, Christian Aid, Africare, World LPG Association, Nigerian Labour Congress, Shell Nigeria, Renewable Energy Commission, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, NLNG, Alitheia, LAPO, Wellbeing Foundation amongst others was chaired by Her Excellency, Justice Fati Abubakar, former First Lady and Founder Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative, (WRAPA).
Declaring the Summit open, Justice Abubakar said" I am encouraged by the composition of the stakeholders on these matters and optimistic that the interest exhibited by all presented who have taken time out of their busy schedule to attend this dialogue is an indication that we on the right track to finding solutions to the reality of environmental degradation and its attendant consequences on our economy, wellbeing of our citizenry.
Speaking on the relevance of the summit and the switch initiative, the President of the Nigeria Labour Conference said "It is something that has been long overdue for Nigerians to have something like this. So I want to thank and congratulate Access Nigeria and Oando Marketing PLC for partnering with you to ensure that Nigerians will be able to get something in terms of facilitating cooking that is going to be very easy simple, and above all safe. We in the Labour movement, we wholeheartedly welcome this idea. We are ready to partner with ACCESS, Oando and every other stakeholder to ensure the success of this project"
Oando plans switch 5million homes from the use of dirty cooking fuels to LPG, a clean, safe, convenient, environmentally healthy, and affordable cooking fuel option through its OGAS 3kg initiative to address the perennial problem associated with the use of cooking with unwholesome fuels. During his presentation at the summit, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun, CEO, Oando Marketing stated that " Our goal is to successfully switch up to 5 million households to cooking gas from Kerosene and other dirty fuels over the next 3-5 years. We believe this effort will not only boost the lives of millions of Nigerians, it will also create up to 36,000 jobs across the value chain. These jobs will be in the retail, distribution and Manpower development sectors as the LPG value chain grows and develops."
According to sources close to Oando Marketing P , the OGAS cooking stove was the outcome of a yearlong research into cooking habits of low income households match to their aspiration of a desired cooking device if certain conditions were right. The product which is targeted at the bottom of the pyramid customers is priced for its target audience and they can refill their gas using the Pay-As-U-Gas (PAUG) facility at any Oando station. The PAUG system allows customers to buy LPG according in a retail form through a metering system.
Oando recently signed an agreement with Lift Above Poverty Organisation to provide on-lending debt capital through its micro-finance banks to low-income households. Commenting on the agreement with LAPO, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun, CEO, Oando Marketing said: "This is another important step in our quest to provide innovative and affordable LPG cooking stoves to an estimated 5 million low income households over the next five years. We are strongly encouraged by the reception and feedback from consumers and other relevant stakeholders since we introduced the 3-in-1 gas cooking stove this year. This partnership with LAPO is one of many to boost our effort to switch majority of Nigerians from the use of biomass fuel to deepen LPG utilization"
To further enhance accessibility, Oando Marketing initiated the three-wheeler supply scheme (Keke Napep) to supply O-GAS to customers who make requests to either refill or exchange cylinders via the O-gas care-lines. To address the issue of affordability, the company introduced the Pay-as-u-gas metering system to enable customers refill with any amount they can afford per time.