President Muhammadu Buhari has appreciated Nigerians and labour unions for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad economic challenges, assuring that the government is working hard to ameliorate the situation.
He was speaking in Abuja virtually at the unveiling of the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative.
The President urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to petrol, saying that the vast natural gas the country passesses needs to be utilised domestically to reduce reliance on petrol and boost the economy.
He noted the country’s gas resources noting that the vast natural resources were hitherto being used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilisation.
President Buhari pointed out that with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet, TCF, and additional upside of 600 TCF, ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, domestic gas expansion and utilisation were apparent.
He said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
The President explained that the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas Initiative had come at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local Premium Motor Spirit market.
He emphasised that the outcome would not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that his administration had to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for the citizens.
The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilisation and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development.
He directed the Minister of State for Petroleum to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to labour unions as part of the government’s pledge to continue providing support that would ease the transportation challenges Nigerians had been facing.