The Nigerian government’s auto conversion initiative, which aims to change the power source of one million vehicles from petrol to autogas in the next one year, will come at a cost, contrary to a claim by Mele Kyari, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), that the service would be free.
Justice Derefaka, technical adviser on gas business and policy implementation to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday that auto conversion would be done at the rate of N250,000 for a four-cylinder vehicle and would take a minimum of seven hours.
In September, Sylva, just like the NNPC chief, had said auto conversion services would be offered to Nigerians free of charge in an effort to assuage the impact of hikes in petrol retail prices on the populace.
“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,” Derefaka said.
“A roadworthiness test will then be conducted after which the auto conversion will be executed.
“The owner of the car basically will decide to say I want to run on autogas or CNG or LNG and like 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,” said Derefaka who also is the programme manager of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Project.
“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.”
He hinted at the likelihood that the rate of auto conversion would be determined according to the number of the vehicle’s cylinders, adding that 50 conversion centres would be upgraded, with all the six geopolitical zones having conversion outlets by January.
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