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•••Launches CNG refueling, conversion station in Ibadan


The Project Director of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative
(P-CNGi), Mr Michael Oluwagbemi has said that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to reducing the Nigerians’ over dependent on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the usages of diesel.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the stakeholders’ engagement workshop on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) held at the Bovas filling station in Ajibode Axis of Ibadan on Friday, Mr Micheal Oluwagbemi noted that the CNG I initiative is part of the presidency palliative rolled out to ease the suffering of the masses caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy.

Speaking on the commitment of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu towards making life more easier for the masses, Mr Michael Oluwagbemi said, “The federal government under the President Tinubu led administration is doing what they should do in terms of reducing the suffering of the masses and improve the standard of living of the people and that is what the President is committed to.”

“President Tinubu is moving the country to the fuel of the future, let us move Nigeria to the fuel produced by Nigerians so when there is crisis within the middle east, between the Ukraine and Russia it does not affect Nigeria at the pump Price, Nigerians will continue to move around freely in peace and I think this is what this program is all about, so I will not call it subsidy.”

In his words, Michael Oluwagbemi further said, “President Tinubu in his Independence Day speech announced that CNG initiative is going to be rolled out as part of the palliatives of post removal of the fuel subsidy.”

“One of our major concern is to make sure that the transition for the transportation sector is cheaper, safer and more reliable as source of fuel was underpaid by affordability as well as accessibility, in the coming weeks we are going to be announcing the convention incentive program which will enable Nigerians that are currently using PMS and diesel fuel vehicles to be able to covert their vehicles at designated point just like Bovas fueling station across the country and they will be do so at a discounted price based on certain qualification.”

“Those qualifications are already rolled out under the palliative program of the federal government for which the government has signed some significant sum under the 2023 appropriation supplementary budget. This is something that is more concern to us and we are to make sure that Nigerians can enjoy this, especially the mass transit operators like Bolt, Ubers and others that serves the ordinary members of the public, they will be able to access these kits at affordable prices and pass all those savings to the members of the public.” Michael said.

While speaking on either the program has been subsidized and the cost of the project, Mr Michael Oluwagbemi said, ” this is your right as a Nigerian once you’re paying your taxes, the federal government is spending under the 2023 appropriate supplementary budget of N100b and this year probably equal sum also assigned to this program, so the basis of this program is transitioning Nigeria from an expensive fuel to a cheaper fuel and that cheaper fuel is gas, and who’s selling the gas, the gas is own by the federal government of Nigeria, so in any case, the beneficiary is the same government, so this cannot be regards as subsidy but a government service to people, and this is to the benefits of Nigerians and to Nigeria environment in terms of cleaner environment.”

“We are flaring less natural gas that otherwise will have been flaring as a country, we are the second largest in the world after the Russia despite having the largest reserve in the world, we are also as country benefitting from the cheaper source of fuel to power our economy ensuring less inflation when it comes or even inflation associated with productivity activities, so this is government policies in improving the standard of living of the people.” Michael said.

While explaining the opportunity embedded in the CNG value chain, Michael noted that the value chain of the program start from every individual that convert their car. Saying the value chain start from everyone of us because right from the point of converting your vehicle you’ve created demand for natural gas and your conversion of vehicles is done by the technicians, your car will be refuel by autogas workshop that will be built across the country, so we are creating jobs for the civil engineers, we’re creating jobs for engineers, we are creating jobs for the technicians, you’re creating jobs for the guys that is refueling your cars and even you’re creating jobs for the upstream in terms of the upstream activities associated with the oil and gas activities, youre creating jobs for the mother station and daughter stations across the country, even automobile workshop across the country.”

“As part of this program the federal ministry of finance is acquiring numbers of tricycles, buses and vehicles that will be assembled d manufactured in Nigeria, more than five of automobile manufacturer have been activated, so you can see that in terms of job creation it’s an opportunity for Nigeria.”

“As we move from diesel and PMS to CNG the opportunity is so enormous, humongous, the President has said we need to have one million vehicles converted by 2027, we need one thousand conversion workshops just like the one we have here, the president has said that to fuel that one Million vehicles we need over three thousand refueling stations across the country you can imagine the level of resources that will require to do that, in order to sustain the one million vehicles conversion we need 25, 000 technicians who are Nigerians just like you and I, so in terms of job creation potentials, the opportunity for job creation addition to our gross domestic product, 2.5 billion dollars worth of investment we mobilized in the next four years and of course 25 billion dollars added to our GDP these are the opportunities when we talk about the value chain.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Director of Bovas Group, Mr Temitope Samson, gave detailed explanation of the roles expected from the Bovas Group as piloting partner to the federal government on CNG.

He said, “Our roles is to ensure that there is CNG availability across the nation for everyone that wants to buy, and we are also to ensure that we have kits and tanks for people to use so there will be enough kits and tanks for as many as people that wants to convert their cars and to do it in a safe manner.”

“We also on ground to train other third party members and also to ensure that any place they get to they have a very good conversion done in a safe manner and they can be sure they can drive about with savings when they get the gas to buy.” He said.

While speaking about the facility on ground for the project, the Bovas Group Executive Director said, “Our facility is safe and it’s okay, we are starting with three daughter stations, the Bovas stations in Ibadan, we are still going on to other places, we’ve earmarked Ilorin, Abuja, Ekiti, Oshogbo these are the Bovas stations for refuel, as for conversion we have eight presently working in Ibadan, we have two in Abuja, we are setting up that conversion plant in Ekiti, Ilorin, Oshogbo soon.”

“We’ve started this over a year ago, what we have done is that we have worked with the regulators, we she also worked with the presidential initiative on CNG to make sure that safety standards are adhere to, SON has worked with us to ensure that we have a standard that is internationally acceptable and is safe for use across the nation.”

While talking about the cost implementation of the conversion, Michael said, “The cost of conversion at the moment as high as it’s, there are various models that have been set out that enables individuals to get the conversion done with ease, so for us at Bovas, you can buy directly and buy at once, you can also buy and pay on installmentally  and you’re able to buy it and you can buy and pay as you gas, as you buy the gas you pay a stipend and in the period of three to six months you will finish your payment.”

The event was attended by various stakeholders such as the representative of the Standard Organisation Of Nigeria (SON) led by Mr Adetoyi Adeyinka, leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers Association of Nigeria(NURTW), Tricycle Riders Association, the Students and Lecturers of both the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Technical University, Ibadan, and University of Ibadan, among others.

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