The Federal Government on Wednesday stated that vehicle owners will pay up to N250,000 to have their automobiles converted to run on gas, asserting that there are different payment approaches to making the conversion.
This flies in the face of the disclosure by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, in September that the government will convert the vehicles of Nigerians to run on gas for free to cushion the effect of the hike in the pump price of petrol.
But while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, the Programme Manager, Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Project, Justice Derefaka said that vehicle owners can have an agreement with commercial banks to get their conversion done.
Derefaka, who is also the Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to the Minister, disclosed that conversion of vehicles from petrol to run on gas will take at least seven hours at the various conversion centres across the country.
“The conversion of your vehicle is not something that will take three weeks or seven days; it will take you around seven to eight hours because they (technicians) need to do a diagnosis of your vehicle to see if it is fit for conversion. After that, they will test for roadworthiness and then proceed,” he said.
When asked who bears the cost for the conversion of the vehicles, the official said, “Who owns the car? The owner of the car basically will decide to say I want to run on autogas or CNG or LNG and as the honourable minister had mentioned before, conversion has basic strands, you can partner with your bank and the bank will now agree with the conversion centre to convert your vehicle, not for free entirely.
“The installer will now put some form of mechanism that each time you buy the gas; a certain amount will be deducted to pay for the conversion kit. Some people will say it is too expensive but I don’t think it is because, within a period of five to seven months, you’ve already paid off the cost.
“The cost varies, it depends on the cylinder of the vehicle but on average, it is around N200,000 to N250,000 and this is for a four-cylinder vehicle but it becomes a little bit higher for a six-cylinder vehicle.”
Derefaka noted that some centres have already started the conversion. “If you take your vehicle to some of the centres like the one commissioned yesterday (Tuesday), technicians and original equipment manufacturers are there so you can bring your vehicles for conversion to start running on gas.”
He also disclosed that 50 conversion centres will be upgraded and by January 2021, there will be conversion centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The minister’s aide said the move will reduce carbon emissions as well as the demand for premium motor spirit, better known as petrol.