The Federal Government has selected 12 states for the pilot phase of the conversation of vehicles using petrol and diesel to enable them to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as autogas.

Our correspondent gathered that engineers with four automobile manufacturers had already started receiving training on how to convert vehicles assembled or produced in Nigeria to start using autogas instead of petrol or diesel.

The Programme Manager, National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Expansion Implementation Plan, Dayo Adeshina, told our correspondent on Friday that the LPG component in the autogas initiative would be implemented in the 12 states.

The National LPG Expansion Implementation Plan is domiciled in the Office of the Vice President and has been making moves to ensure the usage of gas both for cooking, in automobiles and for other purposes.

According to Adeshina, the 12 states are Lagos, Ogun, Bauchi, Gombe, FCT, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta and Bayelsa.

Since 2019, the Federal Government has been pushing for a switch from using petrol and diesel to power vehicles to autogas, with the declaration of 2020 as the year of gas.

It has continued to introduce programmes to encourage citizens to use gas as an alternative fuel, with the autogas policy being one of such.

In September 2020, for instance, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a N250bn facility for the National Gas Expansion Programme as part of measures to improve access to finance for private sector investments in the domestic gas value chain.

Speaking on measures adopted to ensure gas penetration through the autogas initiative, Adeshina said, “I am in charge of the LPG expansion programme; yes, there is an autogas element of it, but it is the LPG aspect that I am responsible for.

“And in this aspect, we are concentrating our target on 12 pilot states and our approach is simple. We are starting with the state governments by getting the vehicles that they are using in those states.

“So, if I take Lagos for example, in the last eight years, Lagos has had vehicles from GAC, JAG, Toyota and Coscharis. So, what we’ve done is that we’ve gone to those four companies to tell them that we would like to train their engineers to convert vehicles that they supplied to Lagos State already.

“The idea is that they can convert the vehicles from the use of petrol to LPG and then we can now scale it massively. So, we’ve done the online training, and we started with Lagos for those four companies.”

Adeshina, however, explained that because of COVID-19, the engineers who were supposed to come and train the personnel in Lagos could not make it last year.

“But we are hoping that by the end of the first quarter of this year, they can come in to start the physical conversion of those vehicles,” he said.

He noted that before then, the government would get the kits in, adding that this approach would be replicated in the other states.

On whether state governments were showing interest in the conversion exercise, Adeshina responded in the affirmative.

He said, “There is high interest and we are making sure that the Original Equipment Manufacturers are involved in the process. Also the kits to be supplied will be from OEMs, as we will make sure that there are warrantees for those equipment.

“That is why we are offering to train the people who will make those installations. So, there is a lot of high interest and states are waiting to have it done in their various domains.

“However, like everything else, people are skeptical until they see it and they will now start to ask, ‘So this can be done?’ This was the same way they saw generators that were running on LPG when we practically demonstrated it to them.”

He said the government had been carrying out sensitisation and awareness campaigns in the 12 states and would continue to push for the conversion of vehicles to run on autogas, considering the abundant gas reserves in the country.- Punch

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