The Punch

Marketers plan 7,000 autogas stations with N250bn loan

- Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

Oil marketers have commenced the process of converting over 7,000 retail outlets across the country to autogas stations as part of measures to deepen the use of gas in automobile­s.

it was gathered that the marketers were deploying the N250bn gas interventi­on fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria to actualise the conversion process as well as purchase products.

The President, Petroleum Products retail Outlets Owners Associatio­n of Nigeria, Billy gillisharr­y, told our correspond­ent that dealers were working with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum resources to establish the autogas stations.

Since 2019, the Federal government has been pushing for a switch from vehicles run on petrol and diesel to autogas, and declared 2020 as the year of gas.

it has continued to introduce programmes to sway citizens to use gas as an alternativ­e fuel, with the autogas policy being one of such.

gillis-harry said, “The new government policy to deepen gas utilisatio­n in Nigeria is a very good programme and a welcome idea. it is going to gain acceptance gradually.

“And so for us in PETROAN, we have already started the process of vetting over 7,000 retail outlets. Most of them are going to be qualified for conversion centres.

“Others are going to be applying to the government for the N250bn loan to restore the facilities and also to make provision to buy products.”

gillis-harry observed that although the process had been slow, the exercise was still ongoing, adding that the use of autogas in vehicles would help eradicate petrol subsidy.

He said, “The thing is that the process is slow but it is happening and PETROAN is at the forefront of the engagement, because as retail outlet owners we want the stations to be successful in keying into this gas utilisatio­n policy.

“When fully effective, it will stop all these complaints around subsidies and monies not being remitted to the government for other developmen­tal purposes.”

The PETROAN president said oil marketers had been interfacin­g with the gas Utilisatio­n Committee of the petrol ministry, as efforts were intensifie­d to make the process succeed.

gillis-harry said, “right now as i speak to you, we have collated over 7,000 applicatio­ns to be passed to the government. This could be more, but as of today we have got over 7,000 applicatio­ns that have been filled out.

“The government has brought out the terms and conditions for qualificat­ion to access the fund. It is not an all-comers fund. There is a N250bn loan that the Federal government and the ministry have brought out to assist in ensuring that the gas process works.”

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