The Federal Government in collaboration with a private firm, Femadec Group, will commence the deployment of compressed natural gas-powered mass transit buses in Abuja with effect from May 5.
This is part of efforts to actualise the Federal Government’s autogas policy which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2020.
According to NAN, this development was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer of Fernadec Group, Mr Fola Akinnola, during an interview on Wednesday in Lagos.
Akinnola said the mass transit scheme, which will be operated by Femadec Express, a division of the company, is starting with 20 buses manufactured by Hyundai in South Korea.
What the Chief Executive Office of Fernadec Group is saying
- Akinnola said, “We intend to start on May 5, after the long holidays. Preparations are being put in place, drivers are being trained and also installation of the payment system in the buses is ongoing.
- “We are partnering with Abuja Urban Mass Transport to ensure that we have a smooth take off.”
- Akinnola explained that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses were cheaper to operate and also environmental friendly as the world was moving toward cleaner sources of energy.
- He said, “Part of our business plan and strategy is to key into the Federal Government’s gas penetration scheme which includes CNG and autogas.
- “There is a lot of mass transportation in the country using diesel and petrol. Apart from being environmentally hazardous, diesel has become very expensive.
- “We saw this a long time ago and even without being given any contract, we decided to bring in these first 20 buses because we envisaged that this time is going to come where people will likely want to switch to gas.”
The firm to acquire 100 Compressed Natural Gas buses by end of 2022
On the company’s expansion plan, Akinnola said, “Our plan this year is to hit 100 buses. Apart from these 20, we are in final conclusion of another 10 from the manufacturers, Hyundai in South Korea.
“They will be delivered in the next one month. Then by August or September,we plan to bring in another 30 while we are targeting a total of 100 buses in our fleet by December.
“We are also looking at September to kickstart the scheme in Lagos and we are engaging the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.
” By then, the refueling centre would have been in place at our facility in Abijo on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.
“We also intend to establish a CNG conversion centre there so that vehicle owners can convert their cars from petrol and diesel to autogas.’’
He noted that the gas penetration policy would create employment opportunities for young Nigerians and boost the nation’s economy.
Akinnola, however, called on the government to create an enabling environment by granting import waivers for those investing in the gas sector as a way of accelerating its development.
What you should know
- Recall that in December 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari performed the virtual rollout of autogas programme called the National Gas Expansion Programme. The programme, which involves the conversion of fuel-powered cars, generators from petrol to gas, is aimed at deepening domestic usage of natural gas in its various forms.
- The programme is also in line with the Federal Government’s plan to make gas the first choice source of cheaper and cleaner energy. This follows the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with sharp increases in prices of petrol.
- The initiative is expected to help cushion the impact of petrol subsidy removal, which the government said, gulps trillions of naira yearly.