The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on Monday announced the intention of the Nigerian government to begin converting the cars and generating sets of Nigerians to run on gas from next month.
He stated that the federal government will do this free of charge for all Nigerians as a way of cushioning the effect of the hike in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol.
Sylva, who disclosed this while featuring on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme, pointed out that cars are capable of running on both gas and petrol and that the move would reduce carbon emissions as well as the demand for PMS.
According to him, “The alternative we are now introducing is gas, which is definitely going to be cheaper than the subsidised rate of PMS. So, what we are trying to encourage Nigerians to do now is to convert their cars to dual fuel.
“That means your car can use either gas or petrol and that will be done for free because the government is going to ensure that you are able to convert your vehicles for free.
“And when you convert your car for free, you go to the filling station, you see the price of PMS you see the price of gas, you can decide to buy LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), you can decide to buy LNG (Liquefied Natural gas). These are all going to be available and we are going to have a roll out plan for this within October.
“Nigerians will have alternatives. It is like introducing a toll on the roads. When you introduce a tollgate, you are expected and required by law to also create an alternative. So, we are also creating that alternative so that you can go to buy gas.”
The Petroleum minister recalled that the Federal Government launched a similar pilot scheme with commercial tricycles in Port Harcourt which they converted to gas and it was successful.
He said the initiative would be extended to small capacity generating sets colloquially referred to as “I pass my neighbor”.
The former Bayelsa State governor disclosed that fuel stations owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, would be the first to begin selling gas to vehicles.
He maintained that the use of gas is cleaner and climate friendly, adding that once this is achieved, Nigeria would receive funding from foreign donors.
Sylva said, “We are going to convert ‘I better pass my neighbour’. So, you will have a situation where in your house, your gas cylinder will be connected to your generator and cooker. So, you don’t need any other fuel apart from gas to run your generators.
“It will become cheaper and cleaner. Of course, our carbon emissions will actually reduce and we are expecting to gain some money from climate change (sic) for reducing our carbon emission. This is going to be a policy direction that will create a lot of opportunities.”
He said all NNPC filling stations and also some private sector marketers had signed on to the initiative, adding that the scheme would start in one part of the country and then spread to others.
When asked how Nigerians could benefit from the free initiative, Sylva responded, “Your car should be in a fairly good condition. That is the only condition to be met because if your car is not in a very good condition, I don’t know how it is going to convert.
“We are already in discussion with the NURTW and they are already very happy,” the minister disclosed.