Ab9ut N250 billion National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) fund has remained dormant in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the last four years over stringent conditions to access it. Chairman of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, who spoke in Lagos during the annual training workshop of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) with the theme, “Fuel Subsidy Removal: Autogas/Electric Vehicles as Alternatives,” explained that the N250 billion was set aside to assist importers’ kits and related products.
He explained that the fund was meant to assist Nigerian companies involved in the gas value chain, especially the conversion of internal combustible engine (ICE) vehicles into autogas as part of the government’s drive to deepen autogas penetration. According to him, the NGEP was conceived to serve as a catalyst for adding value to the vast natural gas reserves Nigeria is endowed with and one of the low-hanging fruits being explored by the team is the autogas where over 30 million vehicles have been identified for conversion. Ibrahim said: “We have a N250bn National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) fund domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) so that if you want to import conversion kits or if you want to import related products, you can access this fund. “We are trying to review that fund because the immediate CBN Governor when the fund was made available, we went to him.
We said, ‘Mr. Godwin Emefiele, you are not an expert in this business, we are experts and we can tell you the kind of products you can make available and the funds you can make available. So the conditions you attach to the funds are so stringent that nobody would be able to access the funds and he didn’t listen to us.
“Of course, nobody took it. So, we are hoping that now that we have a new minister of state in charge of gas who just assumed office and we believe that the government now is responsive to know that you do not make intervention funds for rice cultivation the same condition for CNG. It simply does not work. You cannot make the same intervention funds for fertiliser as you do for textiles, it doesn’t work. So you have to have different products for different sectors. “A number of retail outlets would have to look for other jobs. It is very sad but it is reality.