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Buhari govt says Nigerians will pay to convert petrol cars to autogas

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The Buhari administration has reneged on its decision to facilitate free conversion of petrol vehicles in the country to autogas.

Nigeria’s junior petroleum minister, Timipre Sylva, had conveyed the federal government’s assurances mid-September that the proposed conversion would be done without charge in select centres nationwide.

Mr. Sylva, who justified the removal of fuel subsidy which has resulted in escalating fuel prices, had disclosed that the free transition to autogas would be a cheaper alternative to petrol.

“The alternative we are now introducing is gas, which is definitely going to be cheaper than the subsidised rate of PMS,” Mr. Sylva said on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on September 14.

“That means your car can use either gas or petrol and that will be done for free because the government is going to ensure that you are able to convert your vehicles for free,” the minister assured.

The federal government, however, backtracked on Wednesday, noting that Nigerians will have to take on the cost of converting their automobiles to run on gas.

Justice Derefaka, an aide to Mr. Sylva, who featured on Channels today, stated that the cost of the seven to eight-hour conversion varies from N200,000 to N250,000.

“The owner of the car will decide to say I want to run on autogas and like the minister mentioned before, conversion has basic strands; you can partner with your bank and the bank will agree with the conversion centre to convert your vehicle – not for free entirely,” Mr. Derefaka said.

“The cost varies. It depends on the cylinder of the vehicle, but on the average, it is around N200,000 to N250,000 for a four-cylinder vehicle. It becomes a little bit higher for a six-cylinder vehicle.”

Speaking on an arrangement for installment payment, the minister’s aide added: “The installer will 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 have already paid off the cost.”

The sudden reversal of the earlier publicised free conversion of petrol vehicles to gas, underpins the policy somersaults and inconsistencies in the Buhari administration, which has grown largely unpopular among citizens.

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