Organised Labour Put A Close Tab On Buhari As He pursues Autogas Internative To Petrol-Powered Vehicles

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By Suleiman Umaru

Aware that the Ayuba Wabba, led, Nigerian Lbour Congress, NLC, has planned to called out the workers on January 27 and February 2, 2022, to protest against the proposed increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, even when  the 2023 general elections is just  17 months away,  appears to have President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General , to have had a rethink. 

The  Katsina state born Nigerian President and  his kitchen Cabinet,  appear to have known that if Wabba, is allowed to take  advantage of the proposed fuel pump increase to drag out the worker to the street on protest , it would be  a bad advertisement on the  ruling All Progressive  Congress that he had intervened to save the situation.  But Femi Adesina, Special Assistan to the President on Media and Publicity would not agree.

Temipre Syva, former governor of Bayelsa, home state of former President Good luck Jonathan,and now minister of Petroleum Resources, had said , that the government had proposed  to extend  the fuel subsidy removal  by another 18 months, which is beyond the 2023, general elections. The minister had said that’’ the extension  would  give the industry stkakeholders time  to ensure that the implementation  is carries  in a manner that ensures  all necessary  modalities  are put in place  to cushion the effect  of the petrol subsidy removal’’.

The Nigerian government was working on the provisions of the PIB, which had been assented into Law, by the Katsina  born Nigerian President. Note that there was a six-month provision on the PIB that will expire in February 2022. There are indications that the Nigerian President may take the assented Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to the National Assembly for Amendment to avoid been dragged to Court by aggrieved individuals., which may not tell good of the government.The government’s decision to suspend the fuel pump price hike by 18 months, may have encouraged the Organised Labour ‘’to suspend its planned nation-wide protest’’.

Comrade Wabba: NLC President

Adesina, Media Aide to the President who had appeared on Channels Televions Breakfast Sunrise Programme, recently,  body language had shown that that the retired Army  is not happy that his plan  to remove petrol subsidy did  not work out. In an emotional language, he had said that ‘’Nigeria will have to pay a price’ as the government will continue to borrow externally’. He noted that billions of dollars would have been saved and which could have been diverted to other critical areas of the economy and spheres of life but no longer the case.

Last alone, the Ahmad Lawan led Senate had approved some loan requests of the government  This included  the approval of $6.1 billion, as well as  the $16,230,077,718 and #1,020,000,000 loan requests in July and November, respectively.

The Media Aide blamed the drop in the nation’s Forex generation to the fluctuation in the international oil market since 2019, due to the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19. He noted that   the country’s crude oil price dropped to as low as $30 per barrel but later rose above $80 per barrel.


   Sylva, the minister of state, Petroleum Resources, disclosed that the proposed increase in pump price of petrol has to be suspended ‘’to enable the government unveil the alternatives to the people’’.  Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, had said that the governement is working hard ‘’to provide   the necessary infrastructure that will facilitate the conversion of petrol-powered vehicles to autogas vehicles’’.

Justice Derefaka,  who is the Program Manager  for both  the Nigeria Gas Flare  Commercialisation Program  and the Autogas, part of the National Gas Expansion  project  had said  that the government is not resting on its oars ‘’to enthrone gas  as the go-to  fuel transportation, electricity, cooking  and other uses  that would support the country’s domestic economy.

 The twelve pilot states for the autogas project for now, according to informed sources  are  Lagos, the natio’s Commercial nerve centre, Ogun,  Bauchi,  Gombe, Abuja, the Fedral Capital Territory, FCT,  Niger,  Katsina,  Sokoto,  Eboyi, Enugu,  Delta and Bayelsa.

As a prelude to ensuring the introduction of the autogas to the economy,  the government  was said to have  set up the Autogas and Natural Gas vehicles  Committee, ANGV,  in February 2020,  with a mandate  ‘’to promote the expansion  of autogas as an alternative  to power vehicles in Nigeria as obtained in the Asian countries of China,  Japan,  South Korea, , Thailand, India  and the European countries of  Italy,  Blgaria,  Lithunia,  Ntherlands, Portugal,  Poland , Rusia,  Serbia, Spain,  Turkey, Ukraine.

 Other countries using the auto gas  includede the United Kigngdom, UK, and the North American countries of the United states, US, Mexico,  and Canada, among others.  

PetrolVehicle Cylinder Being Converted To Autogas

  Given the importance attached   to the autogas project by the Buhari Administration may have informed why it has earmarked a N250 billion intervention facility for it. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was sad to have mapped out the maximum loan an obligator can access under the intervention fund at N10 billion. The former Bayelsa state governor, had said that ‘’it will begin the conversion of petrol-powered vehicles to autogas in March, 2022, after a recent meeting with the oil marketers.

He had told those that care to listen that ‘’the deployment of  autogas  was one of such key alternatives’ to petrol that Nigerians must embrace’’. Last December, the government had rolled out the autogas programme called  the Natural Gas Epansion Programme. Suffice it to say that, going by the minister’s estimate, vehicle owners in the country  will pay  between N200,000.00 and N250,000.00  to convert their petrol –powered vehicles to autogas. There are indications that vehicle owners   will have ‘’different payment plans to convert their cars to autogas.

The minister had repeatedly said that   that the Autogas programme  involves   the conversion of  fuel-powered vehicles , generators   from petrol to gas, further stressing that  that ‘’it is aimed at deepening  domestic  usage of natural gas  in its various forms’’.

Already, one  European firm,  THLD International Logistic Limited,  was said to have started    constructing a top level factory  where LPG trailers, bobtail, skid tank, cylinders, autogas tanks would be  built  to  enable Nigerians convert their petrol powered vehicles to autogas  on over 21 plots of land  in Otta, Ogun, Olusegun Obsanjo’s home state.

 Signs that  the conversion of the petrol-powered vehicles to autogas may not be as cheap as Osinbajo , the Vice President had made Nigerians to believe is evidenced  by the  $2.18 approved for domestic  supply obligation , DSO. Although, the minister of  state, had tried to make Nigerians believe that  the government  had approved  the  downward review  of gas  for DSO  by   32 Cents  from the  $2.18/MBtu , but many still believe that it was done ostensibly  to encourage Nigerians to embrace the autogas alternative o petro and take them o a position of no return.

Wabba, the NLC president had revealed that the Technical Committee recommended to the government at the close of February 2021, that gas  price  should be sold below $1.50 per MBtu but  the government  gave approval for it to be sold  above the figure, fueling speculations  making the rounds that autogas price  per litre would  also be sold above the price promised by the government. 

 Note that between 2020 and now, the government had been on the autogas project but nothing appears to have come out of it.  It was anticipated that 12 million vehicles plying Nigerian roads would be running on CNG and LPG as part of the measures ‘’to mitigate the tension over the proposed hike in the pump price of petrol. It is instructive to note that the plan is yet to take off despite the commitment of the country’s scarce   resources for the conversion’’.

Petrol Powered Vehicles Awaiting Conversion To Autogas

There is no gain saying the fact  that 13 months, after  the launch of the auto gas Initiative, ‘’ the ‘’infrastructure,  high cost of gas, lack of proper planning, the country’s prevailing harsh economic realities,  and safety concerns’’ , have continued to sabotage  the governmen’st autogas plan’’.

It is instructive to note that the price of gas has gone up by over 200% since the autogas Initiative was launched in the countr . Even the infrastructure to convert the fuel-powered vehicles to autogas has exponentially gone up as well just as the  import skirts had soared alongside  foreign exchange, resulting  in  free fall of the naira.

 Osinbajo,  Sylva, and Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, batptised Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, going by the passage of the  Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which had been assented into Law, by the retired Army General,  had described the autogas  plan   as a’’ very good policy’’.

Sylva: Minister Of State, Petroleum Resources

The Nigerian Vice President, had said that   ‘’the autogas will curb  carbon dioxide  emission in line with the  global environmental expectations and the nation’s Commitment  to the Paris  Climate Change Agreement in 2015 and  the insistence  of the Inter-governmental  Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, on a limit of no more than 1.5 degree  centigrade greenhouse emission.

 At present, Nigeria, has 263 trillion cubic of gas in its proven reserves which is more than enough to meet the local demand.

The Nigerian may shown that it was not his mind to have bowed to pressure to suspend the increase in the pump price of petrol for the next 18 months,  stressing that Nigeria may have to continue  to borrow from the World Bank, countries that are ready to support Nigerian infrastructural development efforts  multilateral Financial Institutions.

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