FG rules out free petrol-to-gas auto conversion, pegs service at N250, 000

The federal government’s auto conversion initiative, which aims to change the power source of one million vehicles from petrol to auto gas in the next one year, will come at a cost, contrary to a claim by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, that the service would be free.

Mr. Justice Derefaka, technical adviser on gas business and policy implementation to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, said this Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.

He said the auto conversion would be done at the rate of N250, 000 for a four-cylinder vehicle and would take a minimum of seven hours.

In September, Sylva, just like the NNPC boss, had said auto conversion services would be offered to Nigerians free-of-charge in an effort to assuage the impact of hikes in petrol retail prices on the populace.

 “The conversion of your vehicle is not something that will take three weeks or seven days; it will take you around seven to eight hours because they (technicians) need to do a diagnosis of your vehicle to see if it is fit for conversion,” Derefaka said.

“A roadworthiness test will then be conducted after which the auto conversion will be executed.

“The owner of the car basically will decide to say I want to run on auto gas or CNG or LNG and like the honourable minister had mentioned before, conversion has basic strands, you can partner with your bank.

“And the bank will now agree with the conversion centre to convert your vehicle, not for free entirely,” said Derefaka who is also the programme manager of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Project.

“The installer will now put some form of mechanism that each time you buy the gas; a certain amount will be deducted to pay for the conversion kit. Some people will say it is too expensive but I don’t think it is because within a period of five to seven months, you’ve already paid off the cost,” he added.

He hinted at the likelihood that the rate of auto conversion would be determined according to the number of the vehicle’s cylinders, adding that 50 conversion centres would be upgraded, with all the six geopolitical zones having conversion outlets by January 2021.

The federal government had at the launch of the National Gas Expansion Programme said the implementation will herald the clean energy transition for Nigeria and the delivery of cheap transportation.

This was disclosed on Sunday, November 29, 2020, by the Federal Government via tweets on its official Twitter handle.

The rollout is the culmination of the resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to deepen domestic usage of natural gas in its various forms. It is also in line with the government’s plan to make gas the first choice source of cheaper and cleaner energy for Nigerians in their personal and industrial use.

The government also stated that there will be a commencement of formal dispensing of Auto gas (CNG and LPG) products at two NNPC retail stations.

In addition, there will be a handover of CNG-powered mass transport buses to NLC, in fulfilment of the agreement during recent negotiations. This agreement was reached with labour during negotiations and in recognition of the role organised labour plays in the quest to bring relief to ordinary Nigerians.

In September the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva had revealed that Nigerians can now convert cars using petrol to gas, which is cheaper, with effect from October 2020.

The Department of Petroleum Resources also ordered 9,000 filling stations nationwide to begin the installation of facilities for gas products.

In October, the federal government estimated that the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) will cost N97 per litre, as it had promised to provide alternatives to the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, for poor Nigerians.

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