CNG Initiative Takes Off as Presidential Panel Begins Vehicle Assembly Plants Tour

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Presidential CNG Initiative has begun visits to key vehicle assembly plants as parts of the Federal Government’s plan to boost the use of CNG powered vehicles in the country.

As such, the Presidential CNG Initiative team on Wednesday assessed the capacity of some major car manufacturing partners in the country.

The Programme Director/Chief Executive Officer, P-CNG Initiative, Michael Oluwagbemi, during a tour of the Mikano Car Assembly plant, in Ogun State, described Mikano as one of the manufacturing partners of the CNG-powered automobiles which have shown commitment to supporting government’s move to migrate to CNG automobiles.

“At the Mikano factory here, we have seen not just capacity, but the utilisation of gas, which the president has been talking about. For example, this factory is running on gas 24/7, and that shows that you cannot just use the gas to power your transportation sector, but you can even use it to power your economy,” he said.

He said although many Nigerians are still doubtful of the functionality of this CNG, it works efficiently and is cost-effective.

Oluwagbemi added that other manufacturers were also helping to ensure that the objectives of the project were realised, adding that the committee would be inspecting other manufacturers.

“In Victoria Island, Lekki, there’s another manufacturer we’re working with. On Lagos-Badagry Expressway, on May 30, we’re going to be there to inspect another manufacturer, assembling the CNG tricycles. Much later in next month, we’re going to be seeing the EV manufacturing for trailer trucks being done,” Oluwagbemi said.

Oluwagbemi said that Nigeria with 220 million people should not rely on importation for all its materials.

According to him, Nigeria is now making great use of its natural gas resources for industrialisation.

“All of these things, of course, there would be hiccups, there would be issues. But we would go back inwards and solve those issues. And we would move forward as a nation,” he stated.

According to him, this is the decade of gas, “and we are going to make it possible by improving and increasing the confidence of our people in what the president is saying. And that’s why we are here,”

Also speaking, the Chairman, Mikano International, Mofid Karameh, said the company was on the right track by supporting government’s plan to ensure more people embrace CNG and electric vehicles.

He said that since the removal of fuel subsidy, the use of gas has increased and that has helped to save foreign exchange for the country.

Karameh said that Mikano has continued to expand its operations to other parts of the country to improve access to more CNG buses and support the government’s initiative.

“I believe that in the next six months, at least 30 per cent of our vehicles should be CNG, with the service of CNG. If we look at other countries, Egypt has turned into CNG for more than four years and they have more than 150,000 vehicles. Pakistan is in CNG. Italy has been in CNG for more than 30 years. So many countries are moving in CNG, we have an environmentally friendly vehicle and we have a cheaper product to move,” Karameh said.

“I believe that we are on the right track, we are going in the right direction and this country is ready to move to CNG vehicles. I believe that in the next six months, 30 per cent of our vehicles will be CNG. Pakistan, and Italy and many other countries are moving into CNG,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oluwagbemi said Nigeria is now making great use of its natural gas resources for industrialisation.

“There’s nothing that the Nigerian cannot do. And I will say that again. There’s nothing the Nigerian and the Nigerian brain, coordinated with it, cannot achieve. All of these things, of course, there will be hiccups. There will be issues. But we will go back inwards and solve those issues. And we will move forward as a nation,” he stated.

He said many countries like Taiwan, Japan, China, America among others did not start by making perfect vehicles.

“There were mistakes that were made along the way. We must be confident enough to be able to accept that mistakes will happen. There will be errors. There will be inadequacies. But we will continue. We will emphasize the use of Nigerian products. This is the decade of gas. And we are going to make it possible by improving and increasing the confidence of our people in what the president is saying. And that’s why we’re here,” he added.

He said that Nigeria is the one with the biggest gas reserve in the world, and has no business whatsoever importing petroleum, liquefied liquid petroleum, to fuel its industrialization, to fuel its factories, to fuel its vehicles, to fuel any kind of development in this country. We should drive on gas.

He explained, “Nigeria has gas, and we’re going to use our gas to produce electricity, to produce the imputes to our fertilizer plant, to drive a cultural revolution, to drive our vehicles to ensure that Nigerians can produce cheaper. And I think that is the right thing to do. And Mr. President has projected our vision, and our steering committee led by Dr. Zak Adediji has empowered us to go in this direction alongside the six other steering committee members, and we’re on the right path.”

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