The challenge faced by the Innoson brand of CNG vehicles lies in governent policy and patronage, argues Chido Nwakanma
The foremost automobile manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), recently unveiled its new fleet that stands out for running on LNG/CNG as fuel. The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye, launched the liquified natural gas and compressed natural gas-powered vehicles.
Innoson, through its head of Corporate Communications, Mr Cornel Osigwe declared. “It’s high time CNG and LNG-powered vehicles ply Nigerian roads, and IVM remains committed to producing durable, environment-friendly vehicles. This reduces the cost of transportation and encourages sustainability in our environment as well as development”.
MAN President Meshioye, added, “It’s great to see what we witness in other parts of the world, in our own home. I encourage the Nigerian government and individuals to patronise Innoson Vehicles as that’s a sure way of partnering with the greatness we saw today.”
Innoson founder Innocent Chukwuma harped on reducing transportation costs for citizens. The IVM chairman described the new cars as quality vehicles powered by CNG/ LNG and produced as a sustainable alternative to diesel. Chukuma said the CNG and LNG buses are part of Innoson Vehicles’ commitment to promoting environmentally friendly transportation in Nigeria, adding that they are designed to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality while providing a comfortable and safe ride for passengers.
IVM rolled out trucks, buses, and cars that would run on LNG or CNG. It rolled out these vehicles ahead of the imposition of a fuel tax aka removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 29 May 2023. Following the increase in fuel prices, Innoson showcased his gas-powered vehicles to officials of the Anambra State government during the outgoing week ending 11 June 2023.
Innoson’s push fits in with the stated objectives of the Federal Government announced in 2021. Nigeria’s Ten-Year Gas Plan is a government initiative to increase the use of natural gas in the country. The plan articulates several goals.
They include increasing the domestic gas supply, diversifying the Nigerian economy away from oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving energy security.
The FG then announced several initiatives to support the plan. These are expanding the gas grid, developing new gas-fired power plants, promoting the use of gas in industry, and investing in gas-related infrastructure.
Nothing happened on the plan since 2021. It follows a tradition. Through NNPC, Nigeria announced the plan to promote gas utilisation ten years back. NNPC said it would have gas points at 4000 fuel dispensing stations. It even did a trial run in Benin City.
Nigerian experts usually paint a rosy picture of most initiatives. The Ten-Year Gas Plan could transform the Nigerian economy by reducing poverty, creating jobs, and improving the economy. It has to confront and overcome these challenges. First is the underdeveloped gas infrastructure. The gas grid is limited and does not reach most of the country. NNPC, with its humungous 2022 profit of more than 600 trillion, can and should make the needed investment! Then there is insecurity that dogs the oil and gas industry.
The sector will also require proper and effective regulation to enable market efficiency and induce investment. Technology is another challenge and includes the lack of technology to convert gas from shale formations or convert it into LNG.
IVM has made a significant head start. The Federal Government would need to step up its game and convert rhetoric into action. This time citizens may be more interested because of the privations in our pockets from the Tinubu Fuel Tax and pressure the government to do the needful. That is the only way to buy the IVM bus, tractor or car and drive it to any desired location in the country.
It is the right step.