The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Friday said the revenue gained from the removal of petrol subsidy should be used for free conversion of vehicles to gas and distribution of gas cylinders to Nigerians.
Mr Mike Osatuyi, National Operations Controller, IPMAN gave the advice in an interview with Newsmenin Lagos.
Osatuyi said there was an urgent need to switch massively to gas utilisation in Nigeria in order to sustain the deregulation of the downstream sector by the Federal Government.
He said with over 200TCF proven reserves of natural gas, Nigerians would be insulated from the rising cost of crude oil at the international market if more focus was placed on domestic gas utilisation.
Osatuyi said: “If you look at the electricity sector, the government is financing the National Mass Metering Programme to provide prepaid meters for Nigerians.
“We believe a similar thing should be done in the oil and gas downstream sector to mitigate the impact of the removal of subsidy on petrol on the populace.
“The government has inaugurated the autogas scheme, but to convert a vehicle from petrol to gas costs about N350,000 which many vehicle owners cannot afford.
“Also, government needs to embark on free distribution of cooking gas across the country to deepen market penetration.
“What we are saying is that now that subsidy has been removed on petrol, some part of the funds can be used to finance these schemes as a way of cushioning the effect of deregulation.
“The vehicle owners and the beneficiaries of the gas distribution scheme will be paying for the services in installments as time goes on.”
He said autogas was cheaper than petrol, adding that IPMAN was ready to avail the facilities of its members across the country for gas conversion skids.
“It is only IPMAN that has this capacity because we are in the villages and we are ready for the scheme because we know it will even create more jobs for Nigerians,” Osatuyi said.
He also urged the government to direct the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to allocate sufficient quantity of gas to the domestic market to drive and sustain the programmes.
Osatuyi noted that it was an irony that marketers were importing gas at exorbitant cost when the NLNG had the capacity to cover the country’s consumption capacity and still have millions of metric tonnes to export annually.