Mr Rajesh Prabhu, a General Manager in NIPCO Plc., has urged the Federal Government to use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to run official vehicles to save cost.
Prabhu gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos, while speaking on cost-saving measures the government could employ in the face of dwindling revenue.
According to him, there is urgent need for government to promote the use of CNG in the country to reduce the cost of importing petrol with huge foreign exchange.
“The essence is to provide alternative to diesel and petrol at a reduced cost to boost national socio-economic growth.
“Government should formulate policy that would promote use of CNG as a vehicular fuel to all government official vehicles including the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to save cost,’’ he said.
The General Manager said that the project would have saved government over two billion dollars yearly, if the use of CNG had been promoted.
He said that globally, the natural gas industry was increasing its focus and efforts to support natural gas transport.
Prabhu explained that the initiative, which is the first of its kind in West Africa, was ushering in a new era of vehicles running on the CNG with its attendant benefits.
He said that CNG “is a superior auto fuel alternation to liquid fuels, mainly petrol and diesel specifically, for countries like Nigeria which is blessed with abundant natural gas that remains untapped.’’
Prabhu said that NIPCO’s CNG project which commenced in 2009 had resulted in over 5,000 vehicles converting to CNG.
He said that one of the ways government could promote CNG utilisation was to ensure imported vehicles into the country are made to use gas.
According to him, to replace 20 per cent of current petrol consumption, Natural gas requirement is less than 5 per cent of the total domestic gas consumed currently and less than one per cent of the current gas production.
“This will save the country over four billion dollars yearly in foreign exchange.
“In Edo State, over 5,000 vehicles run on CNG which resulted in replacing 20 million litres of petrol from 2012 to 2015.
“It also saved over nine million dollars for the country,’’ Prabhu said.
He said that CNG had more benefits than petrol, including low operating costs and lower maintenance costs.
According to him, it also reduces harmful vehicle emissions which cause air pollution.
Meanwhile, some motorists plying Lagos-Ibadan Expressway who spoke to NAN described CNG- powered vehicles as economical, safer, flexible and eco-friendly.
A commercial motorist, Mr Adewuyi Adekola , said that the conversion of his vehicle to CNG early in 2015 had saved him money.
“I converted my bus to gas early and I am happy to tell you that I save up to N3, 500 daily on my fuel consumption.
“Before now, I spent N6, 000 to travel to Ibadan from Lagos, but now, with just N2, 500, I will travel to Ibadan and come back with ease.
Another commercial vehicle operator, Mr Sunday Adeyemi, said that most of the commercial vehicles operating between Lagos and Ibadan had converted to CNG because of its availability.
“Most of us here have converted our vehicles to CNG because of the payment structure created by the company.
“They are aware that we cannot run away once you got converted.
“What we would have used on petroleum is being used to balance our debt. By next month, I would have completed my debt,” he said.
Adeyemi said he had used the opportunity of having CNG in his vehicle during the period of petrol scarcity to make more money.
“When others did not have petrol for business during the fuel scarcity, I was busy making money because gas was available and cheaper,’’ he said.