1 December 2020 By Shakirat Alabi
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
He made the call at the State House while unveiling the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative.
President Buhari who said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market called for attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on the outcome that will not only cushion the effects of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The President said the auto-gas initiative would lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development.
President Buhari also appreciated Nigerians and the Organized Labour for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad economic challenges, assuring that the Federal Government is working hard to ameliorate the situation.
He therefore directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of Government’s pledge to continue providing support that would ease transportation challenges Nigerians are facing.
In his remarks, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said the Ministry was focusing on development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.
He added that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium term is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari explained that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly PMS, insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.