The $50m P-CNG investment 

The disclosure by the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (P-CNGi) that it is set to roll out 20,000 CNG conversion kits at 50% cost is quite cheering. This is coming with free installation for transport union members as part of efforts to ensure rapid growth of the scheme. 

Speaking during a Northern Stakeholders Engagement Forum recently in Kaduna, Kaduna state, P-CNGi Programme Director/Chief Executive, Engineer Michael Oluwagbemi, said 120 conversion centers were under construction across the country with eight ready for commissioning in four states, namely, Kwara, Rivers, Abuja and Lagos. 

“We are here to engage stakeholders, labour unions, transport workers, state government, technicians and private sector on the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). We have over 20,000 kits that we are making available immediately with the transport sector, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) being our immediate concern. 

“We are making the kits available at 50% discount and installation will be free. With the pilot states being Ilorin, Kwara state, FCT, Abuja, Lagos state and Port Harcourt, Rivers state. The plans of Mr. President are to roll out CNG vehicles immediately, but we need the labour unions and private sector to drive the initiative. Eight of the conversion centers in the four states will be launched next week. 

“The conversion center in Kaduna is ready to go and it’s going to be part of the eight to be rolled out. We also have some conversion centers in Kaduna state that are under construction. We have Nippco Center and Bain Center in Kaduna, NITT in Zaria and others in Kano and  Abuja. Over 120 conversion centers are currently under construction, from just seven last November. The president is working to ensure that 1 million CNG vehicles are converted by the end of 2027. 

“Over $50 million have been invested in the last one year and more would be invested in the coming years to achieve CNG powered vehicles that is cleaner, safer, cheaper and more available. We are working with Ferma and other business agencies,” the P-CNGi boss said. 

One of the stakeholders and Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Hammed Adekunle Fashola, said his association would support the P-CNGi with 150 conversion centers at their filling stations across the country. 

In his message to the occasion, Kaduna Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Public Works and Infrastructure, Architect Ibrahim Hamza, said: “Transportation is one of the major promoters of our socio-economic activities which deals with the movement of persons, goods and freight from one point to another.

“According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (2018); there are almost 12 million vehicles plying our roads daily. 

 “Hence you can imagine the volume of contaminated emissions release into the air by this massive number of fleet and the number of aquatic and terrestrial lives that they are affecting daily. These burning gasoline and diesel fuel creates harmful byproducts like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, Sulphur oxide and formaldehyde. The effects of pollution to our environment affects our health status in so many negative ways by releasing harmful substances which we inhale into our respiratory systems.

While the federal government’s commitment to the conversion of petrol vehicles to compressed natural gas is commendable, it is expedient to draw the the government’s attention to the high cost of the facility. The N300,000 and N600,000 proposed charges for the P-CNG conversion may be unaffordable by many Nigerians, thus posing a threat to the laudable initiative.

Consequently, we appeal to the federal government to review the cost of the facility in order to make it affordable and accessible by the mass of the citizenry. The 50% discount given to transport unions in the pilot stage of the P-CNG conversion could be extended to the larger populace as palliatives, pending the local production of the components as well as the positive interplay of other economic variables