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FG to launch CNG initiative before May 29, private sector invests $50m

BY Bunmi Aduloju

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The federal government says it will launch the compressed natural gas (CNG) initiative ahead of the first anniversary of President Bola Tinubu’s administration on May 29.

In a statement on Sunday by Bayo Onanuga, presidential spokesperson, the federal government said the first set of the initiative’s crucial assets for deployment can now be delivered.

With requisite tax and duty waivers approved by Tinubu in December 2023, the federal government said “the PCNGI committee is partnering with the private sector to deliver the promise on the initiative”. 

In collaboration with the private sector, the federal government said the presidential CNG initiative (PCNGI) will deliver 100 conversion workshops and 60 refuelling sites across 18 states before year-end.

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“The private sector has responded with over $50 million in actual investments in refuelling stations, conversion centres, and mother stations,” Onanuga said.

“Also, a safety policy document on 80 standards and regulations that must be strictly adhered to by operators has been  developed and approved to ensure CNG conversions are done safely and reliably.”

The federal government said the deployment of CNG buses and tricycles, along with a goal of one million natural gas-powered vehicles by 2027, will significantly transition the transportation industry, reducing the use of expensive diesel and petrol.

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According to the statement, countries like India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, and Italy are adopting natural gas-powered vehicles to reduce pollution, adding that studies indicate petrol and diesel engines are primary contributors to pollution.

“Natural gas vehicles reduce tail pipe emission by up to 40 percent, and Nigeria’s commitment to this course will enable her meet her nationally determined commitments (NDCs) under Paris Climate Accord to which we are signatory,” the spokesperson said.

‘NIGERIA TO JOIN COUNTRIES WITH LARGE FLEET OF CNG BUSES’

The federal government said Nigeria plans to join countries with large fleets of CNG vehicles by May, with the Tinubu administration promoting a new industry and thousands of jobs.

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“Four plants owned by JET, Mikano, Mojo, and Brilliant EV located in various parts of the country are involved in the assembly of the Semi Knocked Down (SKD) components of the CNG buses. JET, which has received the SKD parts is coupling the buses in Lagos and is working towards delivering 200 units before the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration,” Onanuga said.

“Brilliant EV will assemble electric vehicles. It is awaiting the SKD parts, which will arrive in due course. 

“The electric vehicles it will produce are meant for states such as Kano and Borno, which do not have access to CNG for now. They will also be available in key Nigerian cities and university campuses.”

According to the statement, Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano (AKK) pipeline, a gas channel project by Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, will provide gas to the northeast and northwest, addressing current gas shortages in Nigeria.

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“In all, over 600 buses are targeted for production in the first phase that will be accomplished this year,” the spokesperson said.

“A new plant on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will assemble thousands of tricycles. The SKD parts manufactured by the Chinese company LUOJIA in partnership with its local partner to support the consortium of local suppliers of CNG tricycles  are set for shipment to Nigeria and expected to arrive early in May. About 2,500 of the tricycles will be ready before May 29, 2024.”

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The federal government added that it plans to provide subsidised CNG conversion kits for petrol-powered buses and taxis — particularly for commercial vehicle drivers — to reduce public transportation costs.

‘BOVAS, NIPCO SET UP CNG STATIONS’

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As part of private sector collaboration, according to the statement, the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) and BOVAS are offering refilling services for the CNG vehicles and also serving as conversion centres. 

The presidency said NIPCO is setting up 32 stations nationwide to offer the services.

“The company has completed the set up of four of the CNG stations. Likewise, BOVAS is setting up eight stations in Ibadan, two each in Ekiti, Abuja and four in Ilorin. MRS is also involved. It is making efforts to announce where its refilling stations and conversion centres will be,” Onanuga said.

“The NNPC Limited which had launched an on-and-off  CNG initiative in the past is joining the new initiative.  It is expected soon to announce the locations for CNG refilling and CNG conversion centres nationwide.

“In addition, the PCNGI is working with 22 other agency partners, including the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON) and Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council to deliver 80 Natural Gas Vehicle Conversion and Associated Appliances Standards for the country.”

For proper monitoring, the federal government said the PCNGI will also launch MYCNG.NG app, which will embed the Nigeria gas vehicle monitoring systems, showing CNG conversion and refuelling sites in the country.

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