Oando introduces Loan scheme for Low Income Households to switch to Cooking Gas
By Joeph BAMIDELE
LAGOS– Oando Marketing PLC (OMP), one of Nigeria’s leading petroleum products retailer,has announced that the company entered into an agreement with Lift Above Poverty Organization Microfinance Bank (LAPO) in an effort
to provide soft loans for low-income households in Nigeria to purchase Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or cooking gas.
The initiative is in line with OMP’s plan to switch millions of Nigerians from biomass to a clean, efficient, affordable and sustainable LPG using Oando’s OGAS 3kg cooking stove, an integrated offering that comes with a cylinder, burner, and gas.
The agreement was signed by Yomi Awobokun, Chief Executive Officer , Oando Marketing PLC; Dr. Kamakhya Singh, Chief Financial Officer, LAPO, and Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Partner Alitheia Capital on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Oando’s headquarters in Lagos.
Access to LPG by the low income group has been hindered primarily by affordability and accessibility. To address the issue of affordability, OMP introduced a portable 3kg cylinder to suit the purchasing power of this socio-economic group. The cooking stove cost N6,800 and customers can refill with any amount they can afford per time through the company’s Pay-As-U-Gas metering system or swap the cylinders for an outright refill at N800.
The OGAS cooking stoves are directly available to end-users via the company’s existing vast network of over 500 retail stations and a growing network of authorized distributors.
Oando Marketing through selected Microfinance Banks (MFBs) is developing a tertiary network of retailers that ensures that O-GAS stoves are available within 10 minutes of every end user. To fund the MFBs, OMP created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called the Clean Cooking Fuel Initiative Limited, (CCFI) to provide on-lending debt capital. The SPV will be funded by Oando and other investors and managed by Alitheia Capital; an Asset Management firm specialized in impact investment.
LAPO is the first MFB to enjoy on-lending debt capital to kick start this initiative and provide low-income households an opportunity to start a new business venture. In addition to OMP’s partnership with LAPO, other seasoned MFBs are poised to join the initiative in the near future.
The benefits of this scheme include: an increase employment through entrepreneurial opportunity, provision of a cleaner and safe fuel option for lower income households, reduction of Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) that causes significant health problems, a decline in carbon emissions caused by dirty fuels, and a decrease in the rate of deforestation in Nigeria.
Commenting on the signing, Mr. Awobokun 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”
Also commenting, Kamakhya Singh said: “We are pleased to be part of a truly remarkable program that will undoubtedly provide a healthier cooking people at the bottom of the pyramid as the first MFB to sign up. We will tap into our twenty year micro financing experience to encourage and support as many entrepreneurs as we can nationwide pan Nigeria leveraging our diverse customers’ base.”