NIGERIA’S government has backtracked on its pledge to support the use of gas-powered automobiles as part of its commitment to cutting greenhouse gases by saying car owners who want to switch will not have to fork out N250,000 ($650) for a conversion.
In 2015, Nigeria signed up to the Paris Agreement, the international deal aimed at tackling climate change and cutting carbon emissions. As part of its commitment to the pact, Nigeria had agreed to promote the use of gas-powered vehicles as part of a move to wean car owners of highly polluting fossil fuels like petrol and diesel.
Earlier this year, the government said it would encourage car owners to make the switch away from gas vehicles but earlier today it was revealed that there will be a cost to any conversion. Justice Derefaka, the technical adviser on gas business and policy implementation to the minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva, said the conversion of vehicles will take at least seven hours at the various centres opened across the country.
In September, the minister had said that the government will convert the vehicles of Nigerians to run on gas for free to cushion the effect of the hike in pump price of petrol. However, Justice Derefaka, who is also the programme manager of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Project, said there are different payment approaches to making the conversion, adding that vehicle owners can have agreement with commercial banks to get it done.
Justice Derefaka said: “The conversion of your vehicle is not something that will take three weeks or seven days. It will take you around seven to eight hours because the technicians need to do a diagnosis of your vehicle to see if it is fit for conversion and after that, they will test for roadworthiness and then proceed.”
“The owner of the car basically will decide to say I want to run on autogas, compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas and like the honourable minister had mentioned before, conversion has basic strands. You can partner with your bank and the bank will now agree with the conversion centre to convert your vehicle, not for free entirely.
“The installer will now put some form of mechanism that each time you buy the gas, a certain amount will be deducted to pay for the conversion kit. Some people will say it is too expensive but I don’t think it is because within a period of five to seven months, you’ve already paid off the cost.”