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FG to roll out alternative fuel after deregulation

By Idowu Abdullahi, with agency report

After backlash that greeted deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream sector, the Federal Government has disclosed that plans have been concluded to roll out an alternative to fuel aimed at cushioning hardship occasioned by hike in price of premium motor spirit (PMS) called petrol.

The move, the apex government said, was to offer an alternative lower in prices the mitigate hardship occasioned by the deregulation initiative which ended fuel subsidy regime and introduced fluctuating  pump price subjected to global prices of oil.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said that the ‘auto gas’ which would be rolled out as the alternative for fuel was to give the deregulation a human face and ensure a seamless transition for Nigerians.

Briefing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, the minister said that beginning from October, Nigerians “can now convert cars using petroleum to gas, which will be cheaper’’.

He added that the process would convert cars for dual capability that would allow Nigerians to choose from options before them in either using fuel or auto gas as alternative.

“To give it (deregulation) a human face, we are introducing an alternative fuel. We are giving auto gas. Gas will now become a fuel for our cars. This programme will be rolled out within the next one month. So, if you go to a filling station and you convert your car to dual capability or dual fuel, then you drive into a typical filling station, you will find gas LPG, you find CNG and NLG being sold.

“So, if you look at the price of PMS versus the price of gas and you think that gas is cheaper which of course, it is going to be cheaper. Gas will even be cheaper than PMS as it is today. So you see that we are also giving an alternative to the ordinary Nigerians,’’ the minister said.

According to him, the central government’s decision to fully remove subsidy from petrol would save the country ₦1trn annually and create massive jobs as it was

“It is time for Nigerians to face reality and do the right thing. What is deregulation going to do? It is going to free up a lot more money. At least from the very beginning, it will save us up to a trillion and more every year. Already, we have taken off the budgetary provision for subsidy which is about N500 billion in the budget.

“Also, we have taken off the excess forex price that special rate that was given to NNPC which also came at a cost. So, all the money that we used to defend the Naira at that time to subsidise the dollar will now be freed up for development. I believe that this discussion around subsidy has been a vexed issue that has captured the imagination of this country for a long time now,’’ the minister added.

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