President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerians for patience shown to his administration despite the economic hardship occasioned by collapse in oil prices, outbreak of coronavirus that plunge the nation’s economy into a severe economic recession.
This is coming as Buhari also restated his administration’s commitment toward ameliorating the situation and salvaging the economy from its second recession in space of five years.
While appreciating Nigerians, the President singled out Organized Labour alongside other countrymen for their restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad of the economic challenges.
Speaking while unveiling the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative at the State House in Abuja, Buhari assured that efforts are ongoing to mitigate the hardship and put smiles on faces of Nigerians.
“Let me now express my deep appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, and Organized Labour for its maturity and patriotism as we collectively navigate these global economic and other challenges,’’ the President said.
Furthermore, Buhari said that the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications, to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The President said that the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding that “I therefore encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.’’
Continuing, the President urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to fuel, noting that:
“It is no longer news that the vast Natural Gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with has hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilization.
“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.’’