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Fuel Subsidy: Long wait for palliatives as Nigerians worry over delay in committees’ recommendations

Fuel Subsidy: Long wait for palliatives as Nigerians worry over delay in committees’ recommendations

If feelers from the oil and gas industry are anything to go by, Nigerians may have to wait a little longer before they begin to feel the impact of palliatives promised by the Federal Government and the private sector following the recent subsidy removal.

Findings by Daily Sun revealed that the recommendations of the National Economic Council (NEC) which included a proposal for monthly petroleum allowance for civil servants, ranging from N23.5 billion to N45 billion was yet to receive government’s attention.

According to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, the proposed N702 billion cost of living allowance and the petroleum allowance demonstrate the government’s commitment to supporting civil servants during this transitional period.

On the part of the private sector however, the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria(DAPPMAN) had last month agreed to donate 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to help mitigate the effects of petrol subsidy removal.

Winifred Akpani, Chairman of DAPPMAN, who spoke in Abuja after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu, was part of a delegation of oil marketers that visited the president.

She said the meeting was to discuss the best course of action in the post-subsidy regime and “to express our support and to see how we can cooperate with the government”.

This, she said, is to support the Federal Government’s post-subsidy palliative measures.

“We collectively agreed that we’re going to work at providing real mass transit buses that work. The ones that run on CNG, which is a compressed natural gas and diesel interchangeably, and hopefully, we are going to start with about 50 to 100,” the DAPPMAN chair said.

“And that is in the very short term. And these are locally produced, so you see that we’re also providing jobs, a lot more jobs because we are using local assembly plants, we are not importing this.

“That is less pressure on our foreign exchange, and that’s more jobs for Nigerians. And Mr. President was very happy with that.”

Some of the industry observers that included civil servants, labour and manufacturers said they were yet a concrete plan of action on the modalities for some of these palliatives.

In a telephone interview with Daily Sun, Chairman of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Limited(IVM), Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, said his company was yet to get orders for the supply of CNG buses either from the Federal or State Governments.

‘‘What I can tell you is that the words we got from governments is that they are still preparing for the take-off of these mass transit buses. Not until they place orders, there is nothing much we can do,’’.

But as for us at IVM, we are fully prepared for the supply of the vehicles whenever they are ready,’’ he said.

The Federal Government’s Autogas Initiative which plans to convert at least one million vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has since hit a brickwall.

Launched in December 2020, the national autogas initiative is aimed at reducing the country’s high reliance on petrol and promoting the use of gas as a cleaner fuel for vehicles.

However, 30 months after, the government has failed to meet the target of converting one million vehicles to CNG.

A combination of infrastructure, high cost of gas, lack of proper planning, and prevailing harsh economic realities have affected the implementation of the autogas policy.

#TheSun

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