*Cheaper to run by 30%
By Theodore Opara
OMAA has finally launched its range of dual-fuel natural gas-powered buses into the Nigerian market, which are 30-40 per cent cheaper to run and can be used for various puposes.
According to the Managing Director of OMAA, Mr. Chinedu Oguegbu the buses which are assembled in Igbo-Ukwu, Anambra State, can be used as passenger bus for school shuttle, commercial transportation, cargo vans for moving farm produce, ambulances for critical life care, logistics van for the burgeoning e-commerce, utility vehicles, and for various other needs of SMEs, large or multinationals, corporate and government agencies.
Oguegbu said: “What we are rolling out today is the beginning of a trend that will revolutionise not just the transportation industry, but the energy industry in Africa, by transforming the way we utilise the abundant energy resources available to us— natural gas.”
He explained that OMAA is opening not only the technology space as a novel automotive company, but also launching the gas-powered buses using 100 per cent Nigerian talent.
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The managing director said the organisation has “hundreds of technical partners to ensure they introduce world class products, while everything here was executed by local home-grown talents.”
He added: “OMAA is an energy start-up with a mission to energise your life; be it work or play, residential or commercial; SME or global or multinational. What do we stand for? We want to empower Africa, care for the environment and develop people.
“Our vehicles are adapted to Nigerian roads, rugged and can withstand any rough terrain. And most importantly, it runs on compressed natural gas, CNG, which is also available in Nigeria and several times better when compared with others.”
Oguegbu who could not hide his excitement for unveiling the products said: “For many years, Nigeria has been flaring this valuable source of energy while importing refined petroleum products that’s heavily subsidised at the expense of government investing in education, health care and infrastructure.
“Our efforts today and the sustained drive in accelerating gas utilisation will change this narrative. More investments in the gas value chain would drive the fuel cost down, thereby leading to increased consumption. This means that electricity, transportation and even food prices will go down.”
Beaming searchlight on some of the economics of using the conventional premium motor spirit (petrol) and gas, Oguegbu said that gas was a more affordable source of energy.
He said: “Take the OMAA T Series running on CNG that we are unveiling today, on the pump price alone, there is almost 30-40 per cent cost saving.
“For most fleet operators fuel cost is the largest operating expense. Imagine how this would translate to cost of transport or total cost of doing business across the value chain.”
The OMAA helmsman said from his findings as corroborated by available research, gas is also cleaner, with over 90 per cent reduction in knocks, CO2, particulate matter.
This means that the firm builds healthier and more sustainable communities as it grows. As he put it, the impact is huge and very timely, and it is one that touches every Nigerian.
“We are proud to showcase our completed state-of-the-art assembly plant today equipped with modern tools and passionate human capital as we strive to make a difference in producing natural gas-powered buses.
“The OMAA assembly plants that available in different engine specifications is currently running semi-knocked down, SKD, operations.
“Later in the year, the company plans to break ground for the completely knocked down, CKD, factory that would not only assemble, but also localise some components.
“The plant will also work to raise the skill of the people as well as contribute to the automotive cluster not just in Anambra State, but also across the country.
“The network of micro-factories, located closest to the markets it serves means that that OMAA can continue to contribute immensely within its immediate locality.”
Optimistic about what the future holds, the company’s chief executive described the commencement of OMAA gas-powered buses assembly in Anambra State as an economic flywheel that is not only very critical but also serves as an enabler in the value chain because that’s the way to spur growth as the continent industrialises, creating jobs, supporting local supply chain.
He congratulated the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and minister of state of petroleum resources especially for declaring 2020 as the ‘Year of Gas,’ stressing.
“They are driving the required changes in the sector to create a market-driven gas economy. These are part of the commitments that President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration is making in developing Nigeria’s huge gas resources and diversifying the economy away from oil.
“Our goal is to be the energy platform that powers Africa’s economic transformation. That is why our slogan is ‘Energise for life’.
“Our plans are beyond Nigeria. AFCTA is already in force since January 2021 creating one of the largest markets in the world. I hope success locally will be replicated across the continent.
“This huge commercial and social opportunity would definitely influence millions of lives. Let us all contribute our quota to build a better future for Africa.”
Present at the event were Dr. M. M. Ibrahim, Chairman of the National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP; Dr. Ishaku Abner, Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum; Pat Igwebuike, Special Adviser on Legal Matters to the Governor of Anambra State, among others.