The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to create a special fund to facilitate the conversion of more vehicles in the country from using petrol, otherwise known as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), to autogas.
The Chairman of MOMAN, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the move would deepen gas utilisation in line with the objectives of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).
Oyebanji noted that creating an alternative source of energy for Nigerians was imperative especially as Nigerians grapple with increasing PMS prices due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.
He said, “For a car to start using autogas, it requires conversion switch which costs over N100, 000. Government should make funds available to assist car owners who want to switch to autogas.
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“The people doing the conversion will convert a certain number of cars and ask government for refund. Other countries have had deliberate policies to encourage use of gas and I know Bangladesh is one of them.”
According to him, government should look at the possibility of granting tax holiday to investors in gas facilities and also grant waiver on importation of gas equipment to accelerate the process.
He said that gas pricing should also be right to encourage switch by vehicle owners while domestic allocation to the market should be increased by the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG).
Oyebanji commended the government for inaugurating the NGEP chaired by Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, noting that it had already begun engagements with stakeholders, including MOMAN.
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“I believe that the programme will reform and implement the promotion of a market structure which would ensure the utilisation and development of gas infrastructure, assets and facilities on a common carrier and co-sharing basis.
“The ultimate goal is to deepen the use of gas across the country by promoting its advantages as a cheaper and cleaner alternative source of energy.
” MOMAN supports the gas initiatives of the government and is keying into the autogas space to give Nigerians across the country a cleaner and greener alternative to power their automobiles, homes and other equipment.
“The idea of deepening the use of gas comes at a very auspicious time as we grapple with increasing PMS prices due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.”
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Oyebanji said new policies on alternative energy, the total deregulation and liberalisation of the petroleum downstream sector and the coming on stream of new mega and modular refineries would be great for Nigeria.
He said that the country could quickly develop into the refining hub for West and Central Africa, becoming a net exporter of refined products.
By Peace Obi