FG Kick-Starts CNG Initiative with 7 Conversion Centres

“Additional centres will come up in 2 weeks”

Nigeria’s federal government has kick-started the long awaited Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative with the handing over of two CNG-fueled buses to the management of the State House in Abuja on Friday.

Launching the initiative at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Chairman of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (P-CNGi) and Acting Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, who performed the handing over ceremony, declared that the launch also involved opening of seven pilot conversion centres across the country.

Adedeji, also stated that government had waived the Value Added Tax (VAT) on CNG purchases as well as seeking duty waivers for value-chain.

Chairman of the initiative, who was represented by the authority’s Chief Executive Officer of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Mr Farouk Ahmed, further stressed that plans were underway for government to establish multiple conversion centres across the country in the next two weeks.

His words: “I’m pleased to announce that there are currently seven conversion centers in Nigeria and the government is actively working to establish more of them. These plans will be rolled out, starting this afternoon, by the initiative.

“This project is not only about conversion of vehicles, but also about generating employment opportunities. It demonstrates President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to both environmental sustainability and economic growth.

“Moreover, it is my pleasure as your Chief Tax Officer, a position I hold alongside as Chairman of this initiative, to announce that we will be waiving the Value Added Tax on CNG purchases as well as seeking duty waivers for value-chain.

“The goal is to build a sustainable future, leveraging our own cheap and clean energy source; gas”.

Adedeji stressed that the delivery of the CNG project demonstrated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to both environmental sustainability and economic growth in Nigeria.

He implored Nigerians to consider the buses as a symbol of a new beginning, “a journey towards the future, where the power of tomorrow starts today. Let this be a beacon for our country, Nigeria, and an inspiration to the world”.

Adedeji emphasized that the buses running on compressed natural gas were not just a technical achievement, but a symbol of President Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to spearheading an energy revolution.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said Nigeria was the 8th largest gas producing nation in the world and with 70% of its hydrocarbon gas possession, would strengthen the nation’s gradual transition from petrol-powered vehicles to gas powered transit vehicles.

Abdulrazaq called on the private sector to invest in the CNG bus programme, and emphasized that universities in Nigeria would be the first beneficiaries of the buses and all state governments would also key into the programme.

According to him, this was the first major change to come, adding “We all know that apart from having abundant gas resources, I think we number eight in the world in gas reserves, gas is a cheaper means of transportation and cheaper means of energy.

“I remember former President Obasanjo established the Olokola Free Trade Zone because he wanted that zone to be powered by gas solely. So, as we transit forward, I encourage the private sector to invest in this gas programme.

“I commend the President as well because this programme, aside from kicking off at the Government House, our universities will be the first beneficiaries of the buses and all state governments will also key into this.

“Also, from my state, we’re going to invest massively and encourage our businessmen to invest massively in this transition. I can only praise Mr President that it our dreams are being fulfilled step by step”.

On his part, Project Director of the Presidential CNG Initiative, Micheal Oluwagbemi, disclosed that state governments had already indicated investment interest in the CNG Buses, he mentioned that the Rivers State Government had already acquired a good number to ease the transportation challenges of the state.

Speaking on the cost of conversion, Oluwagbemi revealed that the current cost of conversion varied from the model and type of vehicle, adding that the President had ensured that as part of P-CNGi, the committee would incentivize the cost for the Nigerian populace.

The project coordinator assured that Nigerians would be able to achieve conversion at a lower cost.

He said: “Nigeria is a gas country with a very small quantity of crude oil, The President wants to make sure that the Nigerian public is not subjected to the price of transportation occasioned by international conflagration rather than being able to use the gas that Nigeria produces by Nigerian people such that jobs are also created at home instead of exported abroad.

“The current cost of conversion varies from the model and type of vehicle but the President has ensured that as part of PCNGI, we will look into that cost by helping and incentivizing Nigerians”.

The project coordinator disclosed that immediately the Federal Government ordered 55,000 conversion kits as part of the immediate palliative, saying various stakeholders, such as the labour unions, and mass transit bus operators, either state or private would be able to benefit from those conversion kits

Receiving the CNG Buses on behalf of the State House, the Permanent Secretary, Olusesan Adebiyi, said the provision of the buses would enhance the efficiency of staff and enhance their punctuality at work

He assured the P-CNGI and partners that all operational buses of the State House would be converted to gas-powered vehicles.

“For the P-CNGi, I want to assure you to prepare for us because henceforth, all the staff buses we’ll have to buy from you and I can assure you we’ll soon set out to consult you and enter negotiations with you for not just purchase, but also maintenance.

“The State House has some fuel dumps and I want to assure you right away that one of our fuel dumps will be converted to CNG with immediate effect, to guarantee frequent fueling of these I’ve discussed with you as well on the issue of maintenance.

“I want to also assure you that we will agree with you because one, this is new in Nigeria, and the spares are not readily available, so why not meet the manufacturers? The fact that these buses were assembled in Nigeria, it’s all Nigeria-made, is one thing that I will not forget in a hurry because as an engineer, I’ve been praying for this to happen and now it’s happening in my lifetime.

“The provision of this bus will enhance the efficiency of our staff, will enhance their punctuality to work and will also enhance speedy delivery of service in the entire State House. Staff listen to me, you know that I don’t come late, so now you don’t have reason to come late, since buses are available to take you to work” Adeniyi said.

In his remarks, Managing Director of OMAA Motors, managing partner of PCNGI, Chinedu Oguegbu, lauded the patronage of made-in-Nigeria vehicles by the federal government, saying it was a way of deepening industrialization

Oguegbu stressed that the deployment of the CNG buses to ease transportation challenges in Nigeria would go beyond the natural gas value chain, adding that it would create thousands of jobs for the youths.

“This is going to go beyond the natural gas value-chain, this is going to create thousands of jobs for the youths and not just like basic tech, what we’re talking about natural gas vehicles, as we progress in Nigeria and after coming up, the technology that we’ll develop here, the talents that we’ll build here, we’ll be able to use this and export to other African countries that have similar initiatives”, he said.